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COOL costing $90 per head

According to the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA)
November/December newsletter Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) is so far costing Canadian cattle
feeders and cow/calf producers about $90 per head.

There is really no ‘good news’ scenario to this situation.
COOL refers to legislation introduced in the U.S. earlier this fall, that
requires all meat – beef, pork poultry, bison, lamb – produced from animals
born, raised and fed outside of the United States to be labeled  and displayed as such by U.S. meat

retailers. 

The net result of having to segregate these animals and meat
through the U.S. food chain is that fewer and fewer meat packers and retailers
want to be bothered with Canadian-raised animals. And if they do, it is at a
considerable discount.

The CCA is monitoring the situation and trying to keep
producers up-to-date and aware, but there is little that can be done. The CCA
says there may be opportunity for a legal challenge to COOL but that would be a
long and costly process.

If you get to the CCA website at www.cattle.ca and click on the COOL update
link, you can get a very clear picture of the situation.

There are five labeling classification under COOL:
Classification ‘A’ refers to labeling of meat from cattle born and raised in
the U.S. ; ‘B’ refers to Canadian born feeders fed in the U.S. (for a period of

time); ‘C’ refers to Canadian-fed cattle imported for immediate slaughter; ‘D’
refers to foreign meat imported into the U.S. labeled ‘Product of Canada; and
‘E’ refers to labeling of ground beef products. COOL does not apply to meat
used in foodservice or processed foods.

As of the December 23, 2008 update, only two large U.S.
packers, two mid-size U.S. packers and one small U.S. packers were accepting C
classification cattle. The CCA reports that starting in January Cargill will be
accepting B classification cattle at its Fort Morgan, Colordao and Plainview
Texas plants, but no more C cattle. Tyson is no longer accepting C Class
cattle.

A more detailed explanation is found in the CanFax report on
U.S. packer procurement policies on the CCA website.

The CCA monthly newsletter is also available on the CCA
website.

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About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.

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