Meat labelling law may not materialize

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CALGARY, Alta. — The controversial country-of-origin labelling law the U.S. is planning to impose on Canadian meat, may not come to fruition.

Livestock haulers and Canadian farmers feared the law, which would require all non-U.S. born and raised meat to be labeled with the country-of-origin, would diminish the value of Canadian meat and cause many markets to stop carrying it altogether. There would be a costly and administratively time consuming process necessary to maintain meat supplies from countries outside the U.S., under the new law, which was supposed to go into effect Oct. 1, 2004.

However, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) is cautiously optimistic the plan may not take off.

"I believe there is a growing groundswell against this legislation within the U.S.," CCA president, Neil Jahnke, recently told local media. "I think it is starting at the top with the retailers and working its way right down to the farm. I’m not sure it’s going to happen."

Federal Agriculture Minister, Lyle Vanclief, says he agrees.

"There is an increasing opposition in the U.S. and without question, we are encouraging that," he recently announced. He adds the labelling requirements may remain voluntary, or disappear altogether.

Currently, there’s no system in place to verify the accurate labelling of U.S. meat and the law has been met with plenty of resistance from retailers.

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