News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

August 1, 2014

RECENT COURT RULING ON COUNTRY OF ORIGIN LABELLING DISAPPOINTING: MINISTER KOSTYSHYN



Agriculture, Food, and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn responded to a federal Appeal Court ruling this week which upheld new government rules requiring labels on packaged meat to state where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered.  The North American meat industry has fought to block the rules, which went into effect last year, saying they are costly and provide no health benefits to consumers.

“We are disappointed by the ruling and surprised the U.S. court ruled against its own meat industry, which has been clear for several years that this legislation is bad for producers and processors while doing nothing to enhance food safety,” said Minister Kostyshyn.  “Manitoba has maintained from the beginning that country of origin labelling (COOL) harms our livestock producers and is inconsistent with our efforts to create jobs in the agricultural industry.”

There are an estimated 23,500 jobs in Manitoba’s hog and beef sectors.

The U.S. COOL measure has forced the livestock industry in Canada and other countries that trade with the U.S. to go through a lengthy labelling and tracking system with an unnecessary paperwork burden and additional red tape, the minister said, adding it has led to disintegration of the North American supply chain, created unpredictability in the market and imposed additional costs on producers on both sides of the border.

Since COOL was introduced in 2009, the Manitoba government has been working with the federal government and industry groups to lobby the U.S. government to overturn the rules.

“From day one we have opposed these new regulations,” Minister Kostyshyn said.  “We have strongly encouraged action be taken through the World Trade Organization and the U.S. court system, not just for beef producers in Manitoba, but for the entire North American industry.”

In 2011, the World Trade Organization (WTO) sided with Canada and ruled that COOL is inconsistent with its WTO trade obligations.

“Our government supports and understands the role that free and fair trade plays in our economy and three years ago the WTO agreed with us.  We remain committed to working with the federal government in support of the strongest measures including the possibility of retaliatory actions,” the minister said.

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