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Canada Expects U.S to Make Changes to Meat Label Rules

Minister Ritz Anticipates Changes to COOL Regulations

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Canadian Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz expects that the U.S. will make the necessary changes to its country of origin meat labelling rules, also known as COOL – meeting the deadline posed by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in time for spring.

Minister Ritz has said that Canada wants to see the U.S pass legislation on its labelling laws, rather than altering regulations. Ritz was careful to distinguish changing legislation all together and altering regulations, because the current situation in Congress could mean that regulatory change was more likely.

"At the end of the day, we fully expect them to adhere to the letter and spirit and ruling from the WTO,” Ritz said in an interview.

On June 29, 2012 the WTO ruled that COOL discriminates against Canada and Mexico – with rules that require grocery stores to label the country of origin on beef, pork, chicken, and ground beef.

The program regulations have since significantly reduced imports on Canadian hogs and cattle because of the raised costs for US packers to have to go through the hassle of separating imported animals from US livestock.

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