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Mandatory country-of-origin labeling

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HAY MAKER

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by Pete Hisey on 11/1/2005 for Meatingplace.com



Mandatory country-of-origin labeling will be delayed at least two more years after conferees in a joint Senate/House Agriculture Appropriations Conference Committee approved a House measure backed by the meat-processing industry and opposed by many producers. Although mandatory COOL is not dead, it can be enacted for red meat no earlier than Sept. 30, 2008.

Several senators vehemently opposed the inclusion of the delay, with Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Larry Craig (R-Idaho) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) refusing to sign the resultant bill.

Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, which has strongly supported COOL, charged that Tyson Fresh Meats influenced the legislation by sending a letter to cattle producers stating they would be required to "provide third party documentation, a legal affidavit with each load attesting to origin, access to your records by your packer and third party and indemnification for liability" if COOL were implemented by its original 2006 date.

"None of the requirements are either required or authorized by the COOL law, and this is a blatant attempt by Tyson to scare U.S. producers into supporting Tyson's self interests," said Randi Beer, chairman of R-CALF's COOL committee.
 

PORKER

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"None of the requirements are either required or authorized by the COOL law, and this is a blatant attempt by Tyson to scare U.S. producers into supporting Tyson's self interests," said Randi Beer, chairman of R-CALF's COOL committee. DITTO !!!!
 

alabama

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I would like to see some beef check off funds spent on an add campaign promote COOl.
"COOl is COOL" it sort of goes along with "Beef it's what's for dinner."
Check off advertise beef as an American tradition so it seems like it would fall right in line to promote American beef. “Know where your beef comes from.”
Yes, we need to spend US check off money to promote US beef but we have to have COOL to do it. So where is the Check off on this one?
It looks like the check off is in bed with the packers who want all beef promoted by US check off dollars.
 

mrj

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Alabama said:
I would like to see some beef check off funds spent on an add campaign promote COOl.
"COOl is COOL" it sort of goes along with "Beef it's what's for dinner."
Check off advertise beef as an American tradition so it seems like it would fall right in line to promote American beef. “Know where your beef comes from.”
Yes, we need to spend US check off money to promote US beef but we have to have COOL to do it. So where is the Check off on this one?
It looks like the check off is in bed with the packers who want all beef promoted by US check off dollars.

Nice try, AL, First, the checkoff is not political. It cannot and is not ever used for lobbying or in any other industry politics.

Next, the people who import beef must pay the checkoff. It cannot be used against them.

Also, where have you ever seen or heard packers state they "want all beef promoted by US checkoff dollars"? While fantasizing, wouldn't it make more sense to imagine that each packer would want only his own products advertised with checkoff dollars, rather than advertising for the other companies? Packers do pay the checkoff on cattle they own. Some of them also contribute serious amounts of money voluntarily to some checkoff projects.

What are you going to tell consumers when they figure out that COOL has no requirement for safety in it? No trace-back of US beef in event of a foodborne illness is included in COOL. Labeling only imported beef leaves at least 80%, and more likely 95% or more of beef sold in the USA with no requirement for a label if the imported beef is sold through food service, or is a further processed product. How do you plan to explain that to consumers?

IF consumers want labeling, they want labels that provide food safety and tell them , or allow government to find out at the least, where the beef was produced, IN THE USA, as well as if it was a foreign country. Anything less than that will be a bad joke on them and I believe they will resent it with harmful effect on the cattle producer.

MRJ
 

rancher

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Some of them also contribute serious amounts of money voluntarily to some checkoff projects.


Do you know names and amounts? Thanks!
 

Sandhusker

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MRJ, "Next, the people who import beef must pay the checkoff. It cannot be used against them."

I'm told they don't want to be in it - they don't feel they're getting their money's worth. Why not let them off the hook and shed an excuse at the same time?

You keep telling us we can't do that because of this and this... You may be correct, but what kind of business people would we be to just accept that? Let's fix the problems so we can do what we want. Who's country is this, anyway?
 

mrj

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Sandhusker said:
MRJ, "Next, the people who import beef must pay the checkoff. It cannot be used against them."

I'm told they don't want to be in it - they don't feel they're getting their money's worth. Why not let them off the hook and shed an excuse at the same time?

You keep telling us we can't do that because of this and this... You may be correct, but what kind of business people would we be to just accept that? Let's fix the problems so we can do what we want. Who's country is this, anyway?

You need to take your complaints and suggestions to your NE Beef Council, or call or email Monte Reese ([email protected])

I do not know what can be changed in the Beef Checkoff law, but do know that changes are made from time to time in some areas. You can contact Monte or anyone else at the CBB office at least as easily as I can and direct questions and anwers are better than relaying things third-hand.

My guess is that eliminating imports from paying the checkoff would not be easily accomplished without going back to Congress. The law was passed on the premise and promise that ALL who sell cattle will pay the checkoff.

While advertising does get a large part of the budget at almost 52% for Promotion which includes more than just advertising, I believe. I wonder if we should be spending more on Consumer Information which gets 11.45%, and Research, at 14.31% for 2006.

MRJ
 

alabama

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To the lovely MRJ for whom I have the utmost respect in your integrity and dedication to promoting the increase in market shear for beef. I am sorry that I was not able to make it to Deadwood and spend some time getting to know you and learn more about your operation. I would consider a face-to-face conservation with you a pleasure indeed. Although I am not so sure that, you could understand my spoken words considering my strong slow accent. For that matter, I am not convinced that you understood some of the commits in my previous post.
I never intended to state that the check off was in bed with the packers (Although I am sure that packer influence is strong) I merely stated that by not promoting COOL it gave me the impression that it looked suspicious. Am I wrong in thinking that promotion of US beef by check off dollars would be more difficult on packers who sell both imported and domestic beef? I fail to understand why a US producer would not want the largest percentage of check off dollars promoting his product specifically. Without COOL, we have no way to nor does the consumer have a way to segregate beef based on where it is produced. I for one buy made in the US products every chance I get. If for no other reason than to try and keep my money at home where it can be spent back into the US economy. It is called patriotism. I don’t think I am alone.
I further fail to understand how check off dollars are collected on boxed beef shipped into the US. In addition, I don’t think that cattle bought outside the US and trucked into this country have paid a check off dollar when the packer owns them when the cross the border.
You have asked about COOL as a promotion in safer beef. In my mind, I at least know that the USDA has been the authority over all aspects of the production of US beef. Even down to the types of herbicides applied to pastures. I am not saying that we advertise US beef as safer merely that it was borne raised and processed in and under the laws of the US.
As for food service: I assume you mean food that is purchase already prepared like a McDonald’s burger. COOL would offer the opportunity for restaurants to promote US support by selling only US produced. Much in the same way, they promote Angus Beef. COOL may even put pressure on restaurants to sell US beef.
I only see COOL as a plus for the US cow calf producer.
 
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Sandhusker said:
MRJ, "Next, the people who import beef must pay the checkoff. It cannot be used against them."

I'm told they don't want to be in it - they don't feel they're getting their money's worth. Why not let them off the hook and shed an excuse at the same time?

You keep telling us we can't do that because of this and this... You may be correct, but what kind of business people would we be to just accept that? Let's fix the problems so we can do what we want. Who's country is this, anyway?

You are right Sandhusker-- when I spoke with Monte yesterday, he said that he had just got thru meeting with some of the importers-- that they are wanting the foreign beef promoted with those checkoff dollars....They are talking about a lawsuit to get out of paying.....

But even if imported beef was promoted, it would have to be labeled or the promotion would do no good.....That would require COOL.....
 

mrj

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Alabama said:
To the lovely MRJ for whom I have the utmost respect in your integrity and dedication to promoting the increase in market shear for beef. I am sorry that I was not able to make it to Deadwood and spend some time getting to know you and learn more about your operation. I would consider a face-to-face conservation with you a pleasure indeed. Although I am not so sure that, you could understand my spoken words considering my strong slow accent. For that matter, I am not convinced that you understood some of the commits in my previous post.
I never intended to state that the check off was in bed with the packers (Although I am sure that packer influence is strong) I merely stated that by not promoting COOL it gave me the impression that it looked suspicious. Am I wrong in thinking that promotion of US beef by check off dollars would be more difficult on packers who sell both imported and domestic beef? I fail to understand why a US producer would not want the largest percentage of check off dollars promoting his product specifically. Without COOL, we have no way to nor does the consumer have a way to segregate beef based on where it is produced. I for one buy made in the US products every chance I get. If for no other reason than to try and keep my money at home where it can be spent back into the US economy. It is called patriotism. I don’t think I am alone.
I further fail to understand how check off dollars are collected on boxed beef shipped into the US. In addition, I don’t think that cattle bought outside the US and trucked into this country have paid a check off dollar when the packer owns them when the cross the border.
You have asked about COOL as a promotion in safer beef. In my mind, I at least know that the USDA has been the authority over all aspects of the production of US beef. Even down to the types of herbicides applied to pastures. I am not saying that we advertise US beef as safer merely that it was borne raised and processed in and under the laws of the US.
As for food service: I assume you mean food that is purchase already prepared like a McDonald’s burger. COOL would offer the opportunity for restaurants to promote US support by selling only US produced. Much in the same way, they promote Angus Beef. COOL may even put pressure on restaurants to sell US beef.
I only see COOL as a plus for the US cow calf producer.

AL, doubt there would be a linguistic problem. My son-in-law is from northern AL, various of my cousins grew up in MO, MS, TN and FL, and one has lived most of her adult life in GA after growing up in MO.

Maybe I typed that first comment on linguistics too soon. In this post, you say you never meant to say the checkoff is in bed with the packers, yet in your previous post, you say "It looks like the check off is in bed with the packers...." And, why are you so sure the producers on the CBB and the committees working with checkoff programs are wimps that will not stand up to any attempted "packer influence" when it might harm cattle producers? Does one have to hate packers to be honest in your eyes?

However, when I post an answer to a specific post, it seems like a good idea to expand on the points because some who are not familiar with the checkoff may read it as well as the person being answered. I don't want to leave mis-information to cause more problems for the checkoff. It has enough people attacking it to serve their own agenda.

Why/how would promotion of US beef with checkoff dollars be worse for packers.......when the majority of the beef is USA beef. BTW, under COOL, the domestic beef would not be labeled, BUT the imported beef WOULD. If importers decide to promote some of that novelty item, it just may backfire on US producers. That is if the consumers can find any imported product. How much actually is sold at retail, virtually the only place it has to be labeled under COOL.

So, are you saying that because you do not understand how checkoff dollars are collected on imported boxed beef, it cannot be happening? If the packer trucking in cattle owns them more than ten days, he must pay the checkoff. Isn't it reasonable to think that a BIG packer is much more visible in his movement of cattle/boxed beef, therefore is more likely to be monitored more easily than an smaller individual operator that may be doing the same thing? Many means are used to monitor compliance with paying the checkoff, and there are not many that slip through without paying.

Food Service is restaurants, hotels, hospitals, school lunches (which I believe must use domestic beef under another rule/law, not sure) and maybe I'm missing some others. All beef that is further processed, such as pre-cooked, specialty meats, sandwich meats, and more are also exempted. I've read it is possible that ALL imported beef could be put through these exempted categories and we would have the costs of administering the law with none of that beef having to be labeled.

Re. McDonalds and other hamburgers, don't forget that the imported lean beef they add to our fatty trim beef brings up the value of the chuck and other cuts that would be ground for hamburger at a lower price than the modern cuts now being sold for more money from those primal cuts.

Benefits of M-ID in some form will far outweigh the benefits of COOL in its present form. Pete Crow has an excellent editorial in this weeks paper and he says M-ID already is being implemented by a MARKET DRIVEN push for it. Particularly for the age verification aspect. He believes the mandatory part will not even be necessary because the marketplace will require it before the government can get around to making it mandatory. What use will there be for COOL if that happens?

MRJ
 

Tommy

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Gazette opinion: Rotten politics delays food labeling again



Here's how to cook up a political solution when a law inconveniences special interests served by congressional leaders: Don't appropriate any money to implement that law.

The recipe is so quick and easy. It can be mixed up and served repeatedly, as ranchers and consumers have seen with the country-of-origin labeling law. Approved by Congress and President Bush in the 2002 Farm Bill, COOL was to be mandatory by October 2004 - until GOP leaders in the House, including the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, conspired to delay it until 2006 by simply not providing any money to make the labeling law work. The delay tactic worked so well, they did it again. Last week, a conference committee agreed to delay COOL until 2008. To overcome this backroom deal, the House and Senate would have to reject the entire agriculture budget. The House approved the budget and the Senate was expected to follow suit.

Any shopper who has browsed the seafood case at the local supermarket in the past year has noticed the "Product of United States," "Product of China," "Product of Russia" labels posted with fish and seafood products. Fruits and vegetables, even sauces and tortillas, state what country they were produced in.

But large meatpackers and some Texans whose cattle herds move back and forth between the United States and Mexico oppose COOL. Their opposition rings louder in the ears of congressional leaders than all the arguments of American ranchers who want their products marketed as made in the USA. The special interests have a place at the table while consumers who want to know where their meat comes from get nothing from this Congress.

Wyoming's U.S. senators, Mike Enzi and Craig Thomas, both Republicans, jointly called for conferees to block efforts to delay COOL. The Wyoming duo has introduced legislation to move up labeling implementation to January 2006. Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., also has been a vocal proponent of COOL. Likewise, U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns last week said he is "furious" with the latest delay. But these Montana and Wyoming Republicans have been unable to sway their party.

In Montana, state Sen. Jon Tester, D-Big Sandy, a candidate for the Senate seat Burns now holds, was the chief sponsor of Montana COOL legislation that was signed into law to take effect next year, if the federal law doesn't.

"COOL is a great idea because it gives consumers more information," Tester said last week. "American consumers would prefer to buy American and Montana beef. I know I do."

Here's another news item: While the GOP leadership was stalling labeling in the United States, New Zealand authorities last week were approving rules to require food suppliers to identify their produce's country of origin.

Consumer information is a good idea that's spreading - except in Congress where the leadership wallows in backroom deals that stall the law of the land. Something's rotten in the capital and it's not what's for dinner.
 

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One of the worst Senators for the average producer is Senator Thad Cochrane of MS. After no action on the issues of poultry farmers who were bringing concerns and violations of the PSA to his office, Senator Cochrane moved over the the Ag. Appropriations Committee where the Cool funding was killed. What gets me is that Congress can pass laws that are unfunded mandates to the state and local governments but can not pass these same requirements on Corporations that are major contributors to the far right.

Some republicans are selling the interests of the country and its producers for their own interests of getting campaign money and revolving door benefits. At the same time they champion the moral issues of the religious right to get their political support and conservative voting base. Is religion being used by politicians for their own ends?

The inactions of an ethics system in Congress is showing. It reaches into the worst that politicians have to offer in both parties and the country pays the price. The first step in this process makes the producers pay, the second is the consumer. If you don't believe in the power of food in the short run, look at what happened in New Orleans. That power is getting closer and closer to being harnessed by just a handful of people. Of course this story played out around the turn of the century with the robber barons. Later I will post the words of a well known economist on his observations of the day.
 

the chief

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Econ101 said:
Some republicans are selling the interests of the country and its producers for their own interests of getting campaign money and revolving door benefits. At the same time they champion the moral issues of the religious right to get their political support and conservative voting base. Is religion being used by politicians for their own ends?


You are right about "politicians" selling out to the highest bidder. But I found your last sentence intriguing and I thought of this:

The "moral based" politicians who talk of their religious beliefs leading their votes are hopefully more sincere than they are just touting the party beliefs. I found this verse from church on sunday to be quite appropriate for some "holier than thou" politicians:

THOSE WHO EXALT THEMSELVES SHALL BE HUMBLED;
THOSE WHO HUMBLE THEMSELVES SHALL BE EXALTED.

:wink:
 

Econ101

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the chief said:
Econ101 said:
Some republicans are selling the interests of the country and its producers for their own interests of getting campaign money and revolving door benefits. At the same time they champion the moral issues of the religious right to get their political support and conservative voting base. Is religion being used by politicians for their own ends?


You are right about "politicians" selling out to the highest bidder. But I found your last sentence intriguing and I thought of this:



THOSE WHO EXALT THEMSELVES SHALL BE HUMBLED;
THOSE WHO HUMBLE THEMSELVES SHALL BE EXALTED.

:wink:

It is difficult for the average person with the information efficiently available to seperate the wheat from the chaff.

Not all republican right wingers are playing that game knowingly but they are letting their party leadership get away with it---and so are the religious leaders. They are part of the problem if they are not actively trying to change the situation. The last time around it was Mark Hanna:


"Now Mark Hanna, chairman of the Republican party, showed an energy, a cool nerve for the great emergency (talking of the great unrest of society in the late 1800's due to market unscrupulous use of market power), that was akin to genius. He moved in the highest places, levying staggering assessments, such as $400,000.00 from the beef group, and $250,000.00 from the Standard Oil. Hysteria spread in these purlieus: "You make me think of a lot of scared hens," said Hanna to a metting of great industrialists. Men like James Hill, who had been having his troubles with labor, surreptitiously changed their political allegience from the Democratic to the Republican banner. "There is an epidemic craze among the farmers and...those who receive wages or salaries," he wrote to J.P. Morgan, July 15, 1896.

.........quote from the Robber Barons pg. 360, Matthew Josephson, copyright 1934.

......And soon afterward it was everywhere from the pulpit and the religous press it was said or written: "The oil trust was begun and carried on by Christian men. They were Baptists..." The president of the oil combination was worth 25 millions,"but he neither drinks nor smokes tobacco... Few men lead plainer lives than he....." Moreover the "four most prominent men in the oil trust are eminent Baptists, who honor their religious obligations anc contribute without stint to the noblest Christian and philanthropic objects... All of them illustrate in their daily lives their reverence for living Christianity." The monarch of oil had won ardent defenders at a time when they were sorely needed. "Peoople charge Mr. Rockefeller with stealing money he gave to the church," said the pastor of the Euclid Avenue Baptist Church, Cleveland, "but he has laid it on the altar and thus sanctified it."

Same book reference above pg. 323.

Those who wish to ignore history are doomed to repeat it.
 
A

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November 3, 2005 Phone: 406-672-8969; e-mail: [email protected]



* * * UPDATED * * * * * * UPDATED * * * * * * UPDATED * * * * * * UPDATED * * *



U.S. Cattle Producers Praise Efforts of Senators

Who Voted Against Ag Appropriations Bill

in Effort to Keep M-COOL Law Intact



(Billings, Mont.) – With regard to today’s U.S. Senate vote of 81-18, which puts into effect the FY06 agriculture appropriations bill, please attribute the following statement to Danni Beer, a South Dakota rancher who also chairs R-CALF USA’s COOL Committee:



“R-CALF USA wants to offer enormous thanks to the U.S. senators who voted against the ag appropriations bill to show their support for the Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling (M-COOL) law passed in the 2002 Farm Bill. Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., Sen. Craig Thomas, R-Wyo., and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., each publicly stated they were voting against this bill largely because it effectively kills country-of-origin labeling.



“These senators took serious note of last week’s secretive conferee meeting, where participants – behind closed doors, with no debate and no vote – effectively killed Mandatory COOL by delaying the program until 2008.



“Mandatory COOL was originally to have been implemented on Sept. 30, 2004, but immediately after the 2002 Farm Bill was signed into law, the multi-national meat packers and big-business grocery retailers successfully lobbied for a delay until Sept. 30, 2006.



“Now these same special interests groups – supported by the same handful of congressional leaders led by Rep. Henry Bonilla, R-Texas, used the same underhanded maneuvers to once again delay Mandatory COOL, this time until Sept. 30, 2008.



“The conference committee tried to spin this development as a simple two-year delay, but because farm bills run for a period of five years, and the programs established in each farm expire when a new farm bill takes effect, this congressional action effectively kills Mandatory COOL.



“Today’s vote is a setback for Mandatory COOL, but R-CALF will not waver from its goal of working with members of Congress who understand the importance of this program and the importance of seeing to it that Mandatory COOL is implemented on or before Sept. 30, 2006.



“R-CALF USA wants to thank the senators who expressed their disdain for the covert conference committee action that killed Mandatory COOL, as these individuals – both Republicans and Democrats – recognize this not only as a pro-competition issue, but also as a pro-consumer issue.



“Without Mandatory COOL, U.S. cattle producers are without the tools necessary to effectively compete in a global marketplace. We must have the ability to differentiate our superior products from among the growing volume of foreign beef products being imported into the United States.



“Consumers want and deserve the right to know where their beef comes from, and there is a growing recognition by consumers around the country that Mandatory COOL is the best way to provide such information. The U.S. cattle industry is going to get it for them.”



# # #



R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) represents thousands of U.S. cattle producers on domestic and international trade and marketing issues. R-CALF USA, a national, non-profit organization, is dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. R-CALF USA’s membership consists primarily of cow-calf operators, cattle backgrounders, and feedlot owners. Its members – over 18,000 strong – are located in 47 states, and the organization has over 60 local and state association affiliates, from both cattle and farm organizations. Various main street businesses are associate members of R-CALF USA. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.
 

Econ101

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On the Country of Origin Labeling, Tyson/packers has convinced the small independent and or regional supermarkets that it will present a lot of liablitity for them. This misinformation, if it is true must be countered it it is not the case.
 

Sandhusker

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Econ101 said:
On the Country of Origin Labeling, Tyson/packers has convinced the small independent and or regional supermarkets that it will present a lot of liablitity for them. This misinformation, if it is true must be countered it it is not the case.

I don't know for sure how many countries in the industrialized world have COOL, but I'd say it's a fairly good bet more have it than not. This is not something new or revelutionary. If other countries can make it work, why can't we?
 

Tam

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Econ101 said:
On the Country of Origin Labeling, Tyson/packers has convinced the small independent and or regional supermarkets that it will present a lot of liablitity for them. This misinformation, if it is true must be countered it it is not the case.

Econ you made the comment on another thread that the packers should know what they are liable for and by not testing the MBM theory they should be held accountable for BSE. What makes you think they didn't talk to their lawyers and found out that if they put the label on and don't know where the cattle actually come from they can be held liable. Maybe it is comments like yours "The Packers caused BSE" that has spurred them on to make sure they know who sell them the cattle they slaughter. So if BSE is found in an animal and it is traced back to a feed mill they sold raw ingredients to they can go back and narrow the search of where they bought the infected cow from.

Why do you think the US producers/R-CALF don't want to tell the packers/consumers in the US that it was them the raised the beef? :?
With no M"ID" the lawyers can't trace the animal back to any where but the packer that was forced to put the COOL label on the package. So to cover their (the Packers) backsides it would only be in their best interest to have as much information about the cow as possible and that means where she spent time in the US which puts the liability for any problems arising from her prior to slaughter, back on the producers. If the Packer can prove the problem had to have been cause by something after the meat left his plant then the responibility lays on the person that handled the meat after it left the packers hands. If the US has the right to force Canadian producer to prove where our beef really comes from why shouldn't the packers, that are responible for the integrity of the label, have the right to insist on knowing where all the beef that they slaughter comes from including that born and raised in the good old USA. Don't tell me you haven't heard of the CYA Policy. :wink:
 
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Anonymous

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Tam- After mandatory ID goes into effect, who do you think will get stuck with responsibility/liability if anyone does--the rancher that talks to an attorney once every year or two to go over a contract or lease-or the Packer conglomerates that have herds of attorneys working for them? :???:

How many expert witnesses can you afford to buy ?
 

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