June 30, 2008
The new US 'country of origin' meat-labelling rules, effective from October, will give US retailers selling Australian beef products a six-month grace period to fully comply.
US agriculture secretary Ed Schafer said he would like to implement the labelling law immediately but understands that it would require time.
Australia's beef industry was worried that implementation would become so costly that US retailers would give up on Australian beef. However, the US could continue to import Australia's beef despite the strong Australian dollar as tightening grain supplies could lead to reduced beef production in the US.
Grain supplies are expected to be tight due to the recent Midwest floods with grain prices moving up as a result.