AMI president on origin labelling before Canadian House

by Editor
Friday, June 19, 2009

AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle testified before the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food on the impact of country-of-origin labelling (COOL). The Committee is analysing the economic impact of the legislation.

In his testimony, Boyle provided AMI's overall perspective about the law and offered AMI as a resource to Canadian companies and individuals who are subject to the law's provisions and need compliance assistance.

Boyle noted that COOL is likely to be a costly and burdensome statute, with first-year implementation costs estimated to be $299 million for the pork industry and $1.25 billion for the beef industry.  Moreover, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates a loss in productivity after a 10 year period of adjustment in excess of $211 million. 

These numbers are particularly noteworthy when one considers that they are being incurred during a time of almost unprecedented economic challenges and hardship not only in Canada and the United States, but throughout North America and the rest of the world, Boyle stated.

AMI is also aware from press reports and other anecdotal information about the economic hardships being incurred in certain sectors, particularly in the cattle and hog sectors, Boyle said.  He told the committee that AMI is unaware, however, of any formal or structured economic work underway to analyze systematically the impact that mandatory COOL is having on livestock producers, the meat packing and processing sector and retailers.

Despite this, Boyle said, mandatory COOL is in effect and AMI continues to work with its members and other affected companies and persons to help them comply with the law and the implementing regulations.  In that regard, AMI has hosted educational programs and provided opportunities for companies to interact with the USDA officials in charge of administering and enforcing COOL's requirements.