By Bruce Cochrane
The State Agriculture and Rural Leaders Association says the U.S. needs to resolve concerns related to Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling before U.S. pork and beef processors begin adjusting to rules that may ultimately be struck down.
The Canadian delegate on the State Agriculture and Rural Leaders Association's board of directors says the U.S. needs to resolve concerns related to Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling before U.S. pork and beef processors begin adjusting to rules that may ultimately be struck down.
In May, in response to a World Trade Organization order to bring Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling into compliance with its world trade obligations, the U.S. introduced new labelling requirements for red meat.
Last month the State Agriculture and Rural Leaders Association unanimously passed a resolution encouraging the U.S. Congress to implement a legislated resolution to the issue that will build markets for U.S. products rather than impose additional requirements on meat processors.
Ralph Eichler, the Canadian delegate on the association's board, says the issue needs to addressed before U.S. retailers start adjusting to new rules that may not be in place that long.
Ralph Eichler-State Agriculture and Rural Leaders Association:
Once you get down the road too far it's always hard to make a reversal on that and it's not too late at this point.
But once the production lines and the processors get that ball rolling it's really hard to stop it because consumers become used to it, consumers become creatures of habit so now you're going to have more information out there that may not be there for a long term and of course then that confuses the consumer and we certainly don't want to be impacting the bottom line for our farm families that work so hard to provide the safest cheapest food in all the world and in particular Canada.
We're certainly proud of the fact that we're able to work in partnership with those producers and of course we as government leaders want to be seen as working together rather than opposing each other on an issue that's so important to trade on the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Eichler notes congress has its best opportunity now to deal with the issue through the U.S. Farm Bill which is currently under discussion.