May 24, 2010

Canadian pork producers oppose USDA's labelling law


The Canadian Pork Council (CPC), which represents Canada's 8,000 pork producers, is applauding the appointment of a WTO panel to review country-of-origin labelling requirements imposed on certain agricultural products by the USDA.


Canada and Mexico asked the WTO to appoint panelists to investigate whether new US labelling requirements were a violation of international trade laws because they restrict market access and constitute a technical barrier, including the movement of live swine into the US market, according to the CPC.


"The North American pork market is highly integrated," said Jurgen Preugschas, CPC chairman. "Forcing US pork processors to segregate Canadian animals and meat imposes unnecessary costs in an already difficult market with little benefit to the American consumer."


Approximately two years ago, the USDA expanded its country-of-origin labelling requirements beyond fish and shellfish. The new law requires retailers to notify their customers through labelling the source of certain food products that include muscle cut and ground meats from beef, veal, pork, lamb, goat and chicken; wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish; and fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, among others.


The WTO appointed Christian Haeberli as Chairman and Manzoor Ahmad and Joao Magalhaes as panelists. All three have extensive experience in international trade matters. Hearings are expected to begin later this year.

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