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Trudeau sides with Coca-Cola & Kraft to oppose country of origin labeling

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau opposes COOL (country of origin labeling).

In short, this U.S. legislation tells consumers basic information about what country their food was produced in by requiring retailers to provide country-of-origin labeling for fresh beef, pork, and lamb.

The previous Harper government had also opposed this and argued that it created a “lengthy labeling and tracking system with an unnecessary paperwork burden and additional red tape.” Canada and Mexico took the issue to the World Trade Organization and the WTO agreed that the labelling law was a technical barrier to trade.

Now the Canadian Press reports, “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s prepared to impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods if Congress fails to repeal labeling laws that have complicated Canadian meat exports. Trudeau said he’s committed to the plan for more than $1 billion in punitive measures established under the previous Conservative government — unless American legislators move.”

The Council of Canadians supports country of origin labeling.

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has stated, “People have a right to know where and under what conditions their food was produced!”

Our US ally Food and Water Watch has also strongly supported COOL. When the U.S. revised their COOL regulations to be compliant with the WTO ruling, Food and Water Watch commented, “This commonsense approach improves the usefulness of the information consumers receive from the label and allows livestock producers to distinguish their products in the marketplace.”

But the U.S. amendments have not satisfied the Trudeau government.

And as the Canadian Press notes, “Canada is getting support from some powerful American corporate interests. About 250 U.S. companies and trade associations have sent a letter to every member of the U.S. Senate, urging them to heed Canadian and Mexican concerns. It’s signed by some of the country’s best-known companies, including Coca-Cola, Kraft and General Mills, as well as trade associations representing everything from livestock-producers to vineyards. …The letter-signers want the Senate to adopt a bill passed in the House of Representatives that does away with the requirement that meat sold in the U.S. be labelled by country of origin.”

Further reading
Trudeau’s agriculture minister supports Trans-Pacific Partnership, opposes Country of Origin Labeling (Nov. 10, 2015)
Barlow says WTO COOL ruling is not cool (May 19, 2015)