The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and the Canadian Pork Council, representing some 100,000 producers, are reportedly calling on their government to bring legal challenges under the North American Free Trade Agreement and WTO rules to the new country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law that took effect in the United States on October 1, 2008. According to the beef and pork producers, the law has begun shutting their livestock out of U.S. markets, where domestic and foreign animals must now be segregated in feedlots and packing plants. Origination documentation and disease-free tags are also apparently adding to producer costs.

The Canadian producers claim that some companies are refusing to import Canadian cattle altogether and others will slaughter them only on
certain days, a situation that threatens to cost the Canadian producers some $800 million annually. In a letter to Canada’s prime minister, the Cattlemen’s president reportedly said, “Our preliminary estimate is that COOL is reducing the value of Canadian cattle at a rate approaching $500 million per year. We fear that the next U.S. administration may further tighten the procedures. The worst has likely
not yet been seen and we anticipate the costs could grow further. Therefore, we urge you to initiate a trade challenge immediately to seek repeal of this egregious U.S. law.” See The Canadian Press, November 2, 2008.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.