Country-of-origin labelling adds to cattlemen’s concerns

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CALGARY, Alta. — As the U.S. works on legislation that would allow Canadian cattle to once again cross its border, more concerns are being raised about a controversial labelling proposal.

The U.S. is moving ahead with mandatory country-of-origin labelling for meat, which would require retailers to clearly indicate which country all meat products originated from. The administrative burden and additional costs would be enough to convince many retailers to stop carrying Canadian beef, says Ted Haney of the Canada Beef Export Federation.

A 200-page proposal was recently published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which suggests labels will have to include information on where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered. Even U.S. cattlemen oppose the legislation, since tracking procedures and paperwork will be too expensive to be practical. Some industry representatives have suggested the country-of-origin law would cost the U.S. nearly $4 billion to implement.

The public will have its chance to weigh in until Dec. 29.

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