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Canada relaunches challenge to U.S. food label rules

CBC reports this afternoon that, “Canada has asked the World Trade Organization to restart formal consultations with Washington about about a U.S. country-of-origin meat-labelling law that International Trade Minister Stockwell Day says is devastating the Canadian livestock industry.”
“The legislation, which was implemented in the U.S. on an interim basis in September and became full law in March, requires meat processed in the U.S. but made from Canadian livestock to be labelled as Canadian rather than simply North American as has been the case to date.”

“The legislation requires country-of-origin labelling on beef, pork, lamb, chicken, goat meat, wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish, perishable agricultural commodities, peanuts, pecans, ginseng and macadamia nuts.”

“The law is aimed at helping consumers protect their health by avoiding foods from countries experiencing food-borne illnesses.”

“Canadian producers say that U.S. meat packers, which buy most of Canada’s meat, are reluctant to segregate livestock and prepare different labels and will instead stop buying Canadian meat.”

“If the 60-day consultation period between Canada and the U.S. fails to resolve the dispute surrounding the law, known as COOL (for country of origin labelling), Canada can then launch a trade complaint with the WTO.”