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Canada is concerned about fresh meat labeling rules in the US

Canada is concerned about fresh meat labeling rules in the US

Canada's federal government and organizations representing some of the country's beef producers are warning that a southern border decision on “Made in America” ​​labels could disrupt the supply chain for meat, poultry and eggs.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Monday announced a final rule on the conditions under which voluntary “Product of the USA” or “Made in the USA” labels can be used on a voluntary basis.

It specifies that they are approved for meat, poultry and egg products only for products that come from animals born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a news release that the rule, which would take effect in 2026, would allow consumers to look at the label and know every step that took place in the United States, from birth to transformation.

But Canada's Agriculture Minister, Lawrence McAulay, and International Trade Minister, Mary Ng, say they are disappointed the provision does not appear to address concerns they have raised about the “unique and important trade relationship” between the two countries.

They say the “meat and livestock sectors in Canada and the United States work closely together” and that Canada intends to raise the issue at a trilateral meeting of agriculture ministers with the United States and Mexico coming to Colorado later this month.

The rule is a dramatic departure from current policy, which allows the voluntary use of such labels on animal products imported from abroad and slaughtered in the United States, as well as imported and repackaged or altered meat.

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“Today's announcement is an important step toward consumer protection and builds on the Biden-Harris administration's work to build trust and fairness in the marketplace where small processors can compete,” Vilsack said in a press release after announcing the final settlement at National Farmers on Monday. Annual union convention in Phoenix, Arizona.

The USDA publication, the “Made in America” ​​rule, is supported by petitions and thousands of stakeholder comments and national consumer survey data. He added that adherence to “Made in the USA” or “Made in the USA” labeling will continue to be voluntary.

Canada is “carefully reviewing the final rule,” Mr. MacAulay and Ms. A joint report by Ng et al.

“Our vital relationship allows producers, processors and consumers on both sides of the border to benefit from efficient, stable and competitive markets, while ensuring a reliable supply of high-quality products,” the statement said.

“Canada is concerned about any move that disrupts the highly integrated meat and livestock supply chains in North America.”

In a statement, the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, which represents cattle farms and feedlots, called the rule “the most stringent standard in the world.”

“It is critical to address any issues that threaten or reduce livestock and beef trade between Canada and the United States,” CCA President Nathan Phinney said in the release.

“We are deeply concerned that this rule discriminates against direct livestock imports and harms the beneficial integration of the North American supply chain.”

The voluntary labeling rules differ from the country-of-origin labels known as COOL, which require companies to disclose where the animals that provide beef and pork were born, raised and slaughtered. This requirement was repealed in 2015 following international trade disputes and a World Trade Organization ruling.

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– With material from the Associated Press