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Montanas M-COOL Rules

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Work on labeling to begin next week
Advisory council hopes to have draft of meat rules by end of first meeting
By BECKY BOHRER
Associated Press

Work is set to begin next week on a plan to implement a state law requiring that meat sold in Montana grocery and other stores be labeled to show country of origin.

An advisory council charged with writing rules for the so-called placarding law plans to hold its first meeting Feb. 22. The hope is to have a rough draft of rules -- or at the least some "very good ideas in place to make a first draft" -- by the end of the day, said Jack Kane, chief of the weights and measures bureau in the Montana Department of Labor and Industry.

The department will oversee the labeling program. Inspectors from the weights and measures bureau now visit Montana retailers about twice a year, Kane said.

"The time for discussing whether this (labeling) is a good idea or bad idea is long gone," he said. "We're here now, so let's make rules palatable to all involved."

The law requires retailers to post placards denoting the country of origin for beef, lamb, pork and poultry products. If the origin of the product is unknown, that must be disclosed, as well.

Kane said the burden to verify the origin of meat will fall on retailers. Those unable or unwilling to do the task would mark the meat as "country of origin unknown," he said.

Supporters say the law will help consumers who want to know where their food is from and cattle producers seeking an edge in the marketplace.

Critics fear consumers will be bombarded with signs indicating an unknown origin, particularly for products such as hamburger, which may have more than one source.

The American Meat Institute also has argued that federal law pre-empts the Montana law and precludes the state from requiring labeling that is different from, or in addition to, what federal law requires.

Bill Donald, a rancher and president of the Montana Stockgrowers Association, said his group supports meat labeling philosophically but believes such a program should be driven from the national, rather than the state, level.

State Agriculture Director Nancy K. Peterson and rancher Dan Teigen, both of whom are on the advisory committee, say Montana can be a leader on the issue. A mandatory national program was delayed again last fall, this time until 2008.

Montana's law is set to take effect Oct. 1.

"There's an element of the industry here, taking care of themselves here, rather than waiting for the big three (meat) packers to take care of us," Teigen said.

The advisory committee has plenty of work to do. It must decide, among other things, what the placards will look like, the range of products that will be subject to labeling and guidelines for determining origin, Kane said.

"This is so new," said Margaret Novak, a Chester grocer on the panel. "Everything we say is hypothetical at this point."

Kane said the public will have an opportunity to comment on the rules, once they are proposed.


Published on Monday, February 13, 2006.
Last modified on 2/13/2006 at 10:17 am
 

fedup2

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I’ve been trying to read more about cool. I found a site that presents the different sides is very interesting, it’s the government testimony-hearings.

http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/ag/hag10615.000/hag10615_0.htm

Some remarks that I’ve found interesting so far include:

But, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, what is missing? What is missing is that it doesn't tell us where the meat came from, and, today, we are importing meat from as far away as Croatia and Korea, New Zealand. Twenty-two percent of our beef that we are eating unknowingly—picking up one out of ever five pieces of meat that we eat unknowingly has come from a foreign country, and we have believed in the American USDA stamp of approval, but the fact is that USDA has inspected less than 1 percent of the foreign meat. They inspect the facilities overseas, but the meat coming into this country, less than 1 percent of it is inspected. Today, 40 percent of the lamb that we are eating comes from foreign countries, and I think about 2 percent of the pork that is coming in.
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And America is sort of behind the 8-ball when it comes to country-of-origin meat labeling, because there are exactly 32 other countries that already require country-of-origin meat labeling, including Argentina, Brazil, Bosnia, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, the Arab countries, Venezuela, and I could go on and on, Mr. Chairman, but this is an issue that—how can you put the cost on the value of a child's life when it comes to being able to trace back and make sure that we know the origin of any disease, and if there is a disease problem in another country, the American consumer wants to be able to go to the meat counter and know for sure that she has purchased American meat. Thank you very much.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In markets all over the world, meat products are labeled to origin, because consumers see value in knowing the origin. Polls indicate, as the earlier testimony has indicated, that 3 in 4 Americans want to know the origin of their meat, because they want consistency; they want quality, and they want safety.
Today, Canadians who oppose national origin labeling in the United States voluntarily label their meat sold in Japan. Why? Because it increases its value. In Europe, in Japan, and all around the world labeling is supported by consumers, and it results in rewards to producers, and it will here in America too. Today, a calf born in Canada; raised in Canada; fed and fattened in Canada, and slaughtered in Canada will carry a USDA grade and inspection stamp, and the consumer who purchases that beef at the counter believes it is buying a domestic product, and all the while U.S. producers pay a check-off to promote their beef and lamb consumption. It is not right, and it is not fair.
Safeway wouldn't pay a fee to promote IGA. We wouldn't ask Coke to pay a fee to promote Pepsi. Ford wouldn't want to pay a fee to promote Toyotas. Anybody who proposed doing that would be labeled as crazy. So, when U.S. meat producers simply ask for the right to label their product so that they can pay to promote it, it simply makes common sense to allow them to do it.
 

mrj

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fedup2 said:
I’ve been trying to read more about cool. I found a site that presents the different sides is very interesting, it’s the government testimony-hearings.

http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/ag/hag10615.000/hag10615_0.htm

Some remarks that I’ve found interesting so far include:

But, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, what is missing? What is missing is that it doesn't tell us where the meat came from, and, today, we are importing meat from as far away as Croatia and Korea, New Zealand. Twenty-two percent of our beef that we are eating unknowingly—picking up one out of ever five pieces of meat that we eat unknowingly has come from a foreign country, and we have believed in the American USDA stamp of approval, but the fact is that USDA has inspected less than 1 percent of the foreign meat. They inspect the facilities overseas, but the meat coming into this country, less than 1 percent of it is inspected. Today, 40 percent of the lamb that we are eating comes from foreign countries, and I think about 2 percent of the pork that is coming in.
------------------------------------------------------------------
And America is sort of behind the 8-ball when it comes to country-of-origin meat labeling, because there are exactly 32 other countries that already require country-of-origin meat labeling, including Argentina, Brazil, Bosnia, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, the Arab countries, Venezuela, and I could go on and on, Mr. Chairman, but this is an issue that—how can you put the cost on the value of a child's life when it comes to being able to trace back and make sure that we know the origin of any disease, and if there is a disease problem in another country, the American consumer wants to be able to go to the meat counter and know for sure that she has purchased American meat. Thank you very much.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In markets all over the world, meat products are labeled to origin, because consumers see value in knowing the origin. Polls indicate, as the earlier testimony has indicated, that 3 in 4 Americans want to know the origin of their meat, because they want consistency; they want quality, and they want safety.
Today, Canadians who oppose national origin labeling in the United States voluntarily label their meat sold in Japan. Why? Because it increases its value. In Europe, in Japan, and all around the world labeling is supported by consumers, and it results in rewards to producers, and it will here in America too. Today, a calf born in Canada; raised in Canada; fed and fattened in Canada, and slaughtered in Canada will carry a USDA grade and inspection stamp, and the consumer who purchases that beef at the counter believes it is buying a domestic product, and all the while U.S. producers pay a check-off to promote their beef and lamb consumption. It is not right, and it is not fair.
Safeway wouldn't pay a fee to promote IGA. We wouldn't ask Coke to pay a fee to promote Pepsi. Ford wouldn't want to pay a fee to promote Toyotas. Anybody who proposed doing that would be labeled as crazy. So, when U.S. meat producers simply ask for the right to label their product so that they can pay to promote it, it simply makes common sense to allow them to do it.

fedup2, do you notice that these are OPINIONS, with no requirement for any basis in fact?

In the first paragraph, when the person states "one out of five pieces of meat...." That is a misnomer, since the "22% of our beef that we are eating unknowingly" is based on weight, and the weight of individual packages at retail varies greatly. It MAY be one out of five pounds, but only one fourth of the 20 or 22% gets to the retail counter and that would be one fourth of a pound. Relating it to that "one package out of five", it would be closer to accurate to say "one fourth of a package out of five packages sold in grocery stores" MIGHT be imported.

There is just too much mis-information and partial information found in these remarks to really give us an accurate picture without LOTS of editing .

It it were true that Canadians oppose labeling beef except for export to Japan, why is it that beef imported into the USA from Canada IS labeled as Product of Canada?

Haven't you read the posts from several Canadians on this site saying they would love to have their beef in our meat counters labeled?

I have read that virtually all the imported beef in our retail counters (which may total about 5% of beef in those retail cases nationwide) is from Canada. The rest of imports are going into processed and prepared beef products if what I've read in ag publications is correct.

Under the current COOL law, the label would ONLY say "imported" and we wouldn't know whether it was Canadian beef (which is virtually the same as northern grown USA beef), or was from another country. Same with domestically produced beef......under COOL, that is all we would know. It might be from a "retired" dairy cow, a 20 year old Brahama cow (I know they live older than that because we had one that lived for 20some years AFTER she came to our ranch and I don't know how old she was when she got here). We don't know whether the owner followed ALL the rules with the medications he used. Until there is verifiable origin and a real trail to find everything that affected that animal, COOL is a sham.

MRJ
 

Tommy

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mj...Under the current COOL law, the label would ONLY say "imported" and we wouldn't know whether it was Canadian beef (which is virtually the same as northern grown USA beef), or was from another country.


MJ where are you getting this information? It is not true.

Quote from Subtitle D-Country of Origin Labeling
a retailer of a covered commodity shall inform consumers, at the final point of sale of the covered commodity to consumers, of the country of origin of the covered commodity.

Note that it does not say "imported" it says country of origin.


mj...Haven't you read the posts from several Canadians on this site saying they would love to have their beef in our meat counters labeled?

Who is stopping them from doing this?
 

mrj

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Tommy said:
mj...Under the current COOL law, the label would ONLY say "imported" and we wouldn't know whether it was Canadian beef (which is virtually the same as northern grown USA beef), or was from another country.


MJ where are you getting this information? It is not true.

Quote from Subtitle D-Country of Origin Labeling
a retailer of a covered commodity shall inform consumers, at the final point of sale of the covered commodity to consumers, of the country of origin of the covered commodity.

Note that it does not say "imported" it says country of origin.


mj...Haven't you read the posts from several Canadians on this site saying they would love to have their beef in our meat counters labeled?

Who is stopping them from doing this?

Tommy, how about posting a link to the entire law and any rules that have been written for COOL? My information is buried too deeply in my files and would take days to find. I believe I do recall that there would be difficulty in meshing COOL and rules governing international trade under NAFTA, but not sure of details.

Probably the rules governing "branded" beef products and/or the desire or ability or lack thereof of anyone to place a product with a "Product of Canada" label on it is what is stopping anyone from doing that.

MRJ
 

mrj

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Mike said:
Careful Tommy. You're gonna drive Maxine to drinkin'. :wink:

The local pub would go broke real fast if all their customers drank the same amount of alcoholic beverages as I do. And I have a LOT of patience with the helpless, but NONE with mean people. NO ONE can drive me or push me into doing anything I choose not to do, either.

MRJ
 

Tommy

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mj...Tommy, how about posting a link to the entire law and any rules that have been written for COOL?


http://www.ams.usda.gov/cool/subtitled.htm
 
A

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Great Falls Tribune Opinion:


Montana labeling experiment really is COOL


We know that labeling meat on the basis of origin is controversial, mostly because the corporate giants that dominate the food industry don't like the idea.

The origins of the red herrings the industry throws up to fight labeling are clear, however: board rooms in Minneapolis and Austin, Minn., Decatur, Ill., and more.

Fed up with the ability of special interests to stall implementation of federal country-of-origin-labeling laws (known as COOL), Montana's Legislature last spring passed its own measure.

Under it, state retailers will be required to do a form of origin labeling called "placarding." An advisory council will gather next week in Lewistown to begin to hammer out rules to implement the law, which is scheduled to take effect Oct. 1.

The session, which begins at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Yogo Inn, will have a public comment component, but, as Jack Kane of the agency that will oversee the program observed last week, "The time for discussing whether this is a good idea or bad idea is long gone. We're here now, so let's make rules palatable to all involved."

Here here.

Of course, similar declarations have been made regarding the federal COOL law, which passed as part of the big farm bill in 2002.

Note that we said "passed," meaning Congress approved it and the president signed it into law.

We now know only too well that what Congress and the president give, they also take away.

Last fall, in one of those sneak attacks that are giving Congress a reputation for double-dealing and disingenuousness, a further two-year delay in implementing COOL was tacked, without debate, onto a must-pass spending bill.

The result is that, unless another countermeasure succeeds, COOL won't take effect until 2008.

Let's do the math: Six years after passing, COOL still won't be in effect.

In other words, labeling that tells consumers where their food comes from has been the law of the land for four years, but it won't be implemented for at least two more years, all because of a narrow band of well-heeled opposition.

Anyway, the state's version is moving toward reality, despite opposition from some beef-producer organizations that say COOL must be federal in order to be effective and efficient.

We agree that federal would be better, but a federal version isn't happening and hasn't for the better part of a decade.

So we also agree with state lawmakers who tired of waiting for Congress to get out from under the thumb of the industry.

The placarding law doesn't have to be onerous, and it should be useful to consumers who are, after all, among the law's intended beneficiaries.

Theoretically, Montana beef producers will benefit, too, because of the cachet their product has — when consumers know about it.

With the new law in place, we'll soon find out if informed consumers will make choices that benefit Montana producers.
 

cowsense

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fedup2 said:
I’ve been trying to read more about cool. I found a site that presents the different sides is very interesting, it’s the government testimony-hearings.

http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/ag/hag10615.000/hag10615_0.htm

Some remarks that I’ve found interesting so far include:

But, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, what is missing? What is missing is that it doesn't tell us where the meat came from, and, today, we are importing meat from as far away as Croatia and Korea, New Zealand. Twenty-two percent of our beef that we are eating unknowingly—picking up one out of ever five pieces of meat that we eat unknowingly has come from a foreign country, and we have believed in the American USDA stamp of approval, but the fact is that USDA has inspected less than 1 percent of the foreign meat. They inspect the facilities overseas, but the meat coming into this country, less than 1 percent of it is inspected. Today, 40 percent of the lamb that we are eating comes from foreign countries, and I think about 2 percent of the pork that is coming in.
------------------------------------------------------------------
And America is sort of behind the 8-ball when it comes to country-of-origin meat labeling, because there are exactly 32 other countries that already require country-of-origin meat labeling, including Argentina, Brazil, Bosnia, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, the Arab countries, Venezuela, and I could go on and on, Mr. Chairman, but this is an issue that—how can you put the cost on the value of a child's life when it comes to being able to trace back and make sure that we know the origin of any disease, and if there is a disease problem in another country, the American consumer wants to be able to go to the meat counter and know for sure that she has purchased American meat. Thank you very much.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In markets all over the world, meat products are labeled to origin, because consumers see value in knowing the origin. Polls indicate, as the earlier testimony has indicated, that 3 in 4 Americans want to know the origin of their meat, because they want consistency; they want quality, and they want safety.
Today, Canadians who oppose national origin labeling in the United States voluntarily label their meat sold in Japan. Why? Because it increases its value. In Europe, in Japan, and all around the world labeling is supported by consumers, and it results in rewards to producers, and it will here in America too. Today, a calf born in Canada; raised in Canada; fed and fattened in Canada, and slaughtered in Canada will carry a USDA grade and inspection stamp, and the consumer who purchases that beef at the counter believes it is buying a domestic product, and all the while U.S. producers pay a check-off to promote their beef and lamb consumption. It is not right, and it is not fair.
Safeway wouldn't pay a fee to promote IGA. We wouldn't ask Coke to pay a fee to promote Pepsi. Ford wouldn't want to pay a fee to promote Toyotas. Anybody who proposed doing that would be labeled as crazy. So, when U.S. meat producers simply ask for the right to label their product so that they can pay to promote it, it simply makes common sense to allow them to do it.

Fedup 2...I would like to comment on a couple of items in the article you posted. Canadian slaughtered cattle carry ONLY the Canadian grade stamp and are often imported as no-roll beef. It's quite possible the meat will be reinspected stateside and the USDA inspection stamps would be used than. Grade and health stamps are two different items! As to the check-off all Canadian product crossing into the US pays into the checkoff (on a carcass equivalency basis I believe) and help fund beef promotion projects !
 

Econ101

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cowsense said:
fedup2 said:
I’ve been trying to read more about cool. I found a site that presents the different sides is very interesting, it’s the government testimony-hearings.

http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/ag/hag10615.000/hag10615_0.htm

Some remarks that I’ve found interesting so far include:

But, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, what is missing? What is missing is that it doesn't tell us where the meat came from, and, today, we are importing meat from as far away as Croatia and Korea, New Zealand. Twenty-two percent of our beef that we are eating unknowingly—picking up one out of ever five pieces of meat that we eat unknowingly has come from a foreign country, and we have believed in the American USDA stamp of approval, but the fact is that USDA has inspected less than 1 percent of the foreign meat. They inspect the facilities overseas, but the meat coming into this country, less than 1 percent of it is inspected. Today, 40 percent of the lamb that we are eating comes from foreign countries, and I think about 2 percent of the pork that is coming in.
------------------------------------------------------------------
And America is sort of behind the 8-ball when it comes to country-of-origin meat labeling, because there are exactly 32 other countries that already require country-of-origin meat labeling, including Argentina, Brazil, Bosnia, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, the Arab countries, Venezuela, and I could go on and on, Mr. Chairman, but this is an issue that—how can you put the cost on the value of a child's life when it comes to being able to trace back and make sure that we know the origin of any disease, and if there is a disease problem in another country, the American consumer wants to be able to go to the meat counter and know for sure that she has purchased American meat. Thank you very much.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In markets all over the world, meat products are labeled to origin, because consumers see value in knowing the origin. Polls indicate, as the earlier testimony has indicated, that 3 in 4 Americans want to know the origin of their meat, because they want consistency; they want quality, and they want safety.
Today, Canadians who oppose national origin labeling in the United States voluntarily label their meat sold in Japan. Why? Because it increases its value. In Europe, in Japan, and all around the world labeling is supported by consumers, and it results in rewards to producers, and it will here in America too. Today, a calf born in Canada; raised in Canada; fed and fattened in Canada, and slaughtered in Canada will carry a USDA grade and inspection stamp, and the consumer who purchases that beef at the counter believes it is buying a domestic product, and all the while U.S. producers pay a check-off to promote their beef and lamb consumption. It is not right, and it is not fair.
Safeway wouldn't pay a fee to promote IGA. We wouldn't ask Coke to pay a fee to promote Pepsi. Ford wouldn't want to pay a fee to promote Toyotas. Anybody who proposed doing that would be labeled as crazy. So, when U.S. meat producers simply ask for the right to label their product so that they can pay to promote it, it simply makes common sense to allow them to do it.

Fedup 2...I would like to comment on a couple of items in the article you posted. Canadian slaughtered cattle carry ONLY the Canadian grade stamp and are often imported as no-roll beef. It's quite possible the meat will be reinspected stateside and the USDA inspection stamps would be used than. Grade and health stamps are two different items! As to the check-off all Canadian product crossing into the US pays into the checkoff (on a carcass equivalency basis I believe) and help fund beef promotion projects !

Cowsense, I might be a little different than the rcalfers on this site but what is wrong with the Canadian cattle coming in with a grade stamp from Canada with an explanation of that stamp? I would much rather take a stamp from a supposedly nuetral govt. than a packer claiming the grade. Does Canada have the same grades as the US?

The only other issue with Canadian beef would be producer protections that are encompased in the PSA. The PSA protections to producers should not have borders if cattle do not.
 

Econ101

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Big Muddy rancher said:
Econ the packers don't grade the cattle in Canada either. It's a Government inspector.

I would have assumed that both our govts. are smart enough not to leave that job in the hands of the packers based on previous experience. Is your grading system the same as the USDA's? We did have a little change some years back from good to select but is your grading system the same?
 

Econ101

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~SH~ said:
"M"COOL is SYMBOLISM OVER SUBSTANCE!


~SH~

It is if you can not control diseases at the border.

The USDA is failing at that one because the packers want international supplies of beef where they don't have to follow laws that protect producers like the PSA. In the end, it is going to be the producers who pay. Packers have to pay politicians right now, though.
 

William Kanitz

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Those rules are not as tough as the EU ,link to Aust may introduce new meat labels

Friday, 10/02/2006

Australia may have to re-examine its meat labelling requirements, with Europe set to impose new animal welfare standards.

The European Commission wants its new meat labels to include information about animal origins, feeding and slaughter.

Tim D'Arcy from the Pastoralists and Graziers Association says while the EC has flagged Australia as a possible model for the new standards, we need to keep up with European requirements.

"Well it's not a case of whether they're practical or whether not," he said.

"I mean it's what the consumer wants, if the consumer - and they've said in a survey here that 75 per cent of all consumers that they surveyed believe they can influence the animal welfare through what they choose to buy.

"I mean it's the old, old story, what the consumer wants we have to comply with."
 

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