October 23, 2008
Cargill transitions beef and pork programmes to COOL
Cargill has announced it is beginning to transition its beef and pork programmes to the "Product of the USA" and "Product of USA, Canada, Mexico" labels. The company expects to have a minimum of 70 percent of product meet the "Product of the USA" labelling standard beginning January 1, 2009.
Under the USDA's Country of Origin Labelling programme, the "Product of the USA" label A means the livestock were born, raised and harvested in the US. For multiple countries of origin, Cargill will use label B, "Product of USA, Canada, Mexico" which means the livestock may be born in one country, but sent at an early age to the US to be raised and processed.
Cargill this week began working with many of its largest beef and pork customers and producers to ensure that labelling can be done effectively and efficiently. Cargill Pork President Dirk Jones said they are confident of meeting the needs of both producers and retailers.
Cargill plans to work with producers to ensure animals with common characteristics are delivered to its processing plants grouped together, in order to improve efficiency in the transition.
One of the challenges in implementing the country of origin labelling programme is managing the costs associated with segregating products based on characteristics such as quality grades or production practices. For instance, Cargill's Sterling Silver brand and antibiotic-free pork line are grouped on separate lines.
However, Jones believes the company can manage complexity by working closely with its retail, food service, and export customers.
Cargill is an international provider of food, agricultural and risk management products and services.