OSU Extension Beef Economist Derrell Peel Weighs in on M-COOLTue, 19 Mar 2013 16:15:06 CDT
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service released its revised rule regarding COOL March 8. This action is in response to the World Trade Organization’s ruling last year that COOL violated U.S. obligations under the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade. The WTO set May 23, 2013 as the date by which the United States needed to come into compliance with the ruling or Canada and Mexico would be allowed to retaliate. According to the Texas Cattle Feeders Association, the major change is how product is supposed to be labeled.
Here are the labeling requirements under the current COOL program:
Category A - U.S. Origin (Product of the U.S.) – Muscle cuts of beef and veal must be derived exclusively from animals born, raised and slaughtered in the U.S. (including animals born and raised in Alaska and Hawaii and transported for a period of time not more than 60 days through Canada to the Unied States and slaughtered in the United States). This product can be labeled “Product of the U.S.”
Category B - Multiple Countries of Origin that include the U.S. – If an animal was born, raised, and/or slaughtered in the U.S., and was not imported for immediate slaughter, the origin of the resulting meat products derived from that animal may be designated as Product of the U.S., Country X, and (as applicable) Country Y. Country X (and, as applicable Y) may represent the country the animal was born in and/or raised for a portion, but not all, of its life). Due to additional flexibility added in 2009, most labels say “Product of the U.S., Canada or Mexico.”
Category C - Imported Direct for Slaughter – If an animal is imported into the U.S. for immediate slaughter (spends less than two weeks in the U.S. before being processed), the origin of the resulting meat products derived from that animal shall be designated as “Product of Country X and the U.S.”. Category C cattle may be comingled with category B cattle during processing. This flexibility was also intended to be used at the end of a production day shift to finish out the shift and ensure efficiency of the line. In this instance of commingling with category B beef, the product may be labeled as Product of the U.S., Country X, and (as applicable) Country Y. This is the same labeling method used for Category B, and the placement order of the countries on the label may be in any order desired by the retailer.
Category D - Imported Beef – Boxed beef imported into the U.S. must be labeled with its country of origin before it comes into the U.S. as required by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Under the proposed rule change, the country of birth, raising and processing will now have to be used for all categories. For example:
Former Category A – label must read “born, raised and processed in the United States.”
Former Category B – label must read “born in Mexico (or Canada), raised and processed in the United States.”
Former Category C – label must read “born and raised in Canada, processed in the United States.”
Former Category D – label must read “born, raised and processed in Australia.” (or any other applicable country.)
Predictably, the Texas Cattle Feeders and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association are totally against the proposed revised COOL rule. Also predictably, the National Farmers Union and R-Calf USA believes it compares to being even better than sliced bread.
On today's Beef Buzz- we talk with OSU Livestock Market Economist Dr. Derrell Peel about the revised rule USDA is hoping to fast track through the process.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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