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COOL appeal denied

Another delay for livestock producers who want the U.S. to change country of origin labeling on meat.
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On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals denied an appeal by North American meat industry groups to overturn mandatory Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling legislation.
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The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Canadian Pork Council, producers and other groups are disappointed. They say producers will continue to lose money because of it.

It’s been an uphill battle for cattle and hog producers.

“We produce as good or higher quality product as the Americans,” said feedlot owner Leighton Kolk. “yet when we go to ship it to the American consumer we’re getting paid five to 10 percent less than what it’s worth, the exact same animal except across the border. You know, those are significant dollars.”

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association is disappointed with the appeal court’s ruling.

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John Masswohl, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association’s director of government and international relations said, “We were hoping that would be one way to try to reduce or eliminate some of the expense that Canadian cattle producers have been experiencing due to COOL but it will continue, it will continue costing us hundreds of millions of dollars.”

The chairman of the Canadian Pork Council said it’s essential that there be legislated change for the U.S. to come into compliance with its WTO obligations on COOL and that the council’s primary focus is for Canada to prevail in its case against COOL before the WTO’s compliance panel.

Canadian, U.S. and Mexican livestock producers and processors want the COOL labeling blocked. American groups pressed for the appeal.

“The American meat business, the processors and retailers, they don’t like this country of origin labelling rule at all,” said Kolk. “It costs money and the consumers aren’t getting value for it, so they would rather see it gone too.”

The WTO is expected to rule on U.S. compliance in June. If the U.S. fails to make amendments favorable to Canada and consistent with the WTO, Canada could impose retaliatory tariffs against a host of US exports.