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Author  [Modern View]

02-09-2018 10:14:30

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I happened to turn on my TV and catch an episode of Dr. ODD. His discussion was about hamburg and what part of the animal that it came from and of course there was a discussion about animal feed and care. All in all he treated beef farmers with the respect that they deserve and he did praise the beef industry for their animal care and food safety efforts.
One of the things that came up was COOL [country of origin labeling]. When it was started, in the nineties as I recall it ended quickly when Mexico and Canada sued in the WTO with claims that it would cause prejudice against their farm producers so the US government scuttled the idea. My memory of that is slightly different. I do remembering getting a notice from the department of agriculture that I needed to register my farm and get a unique id number. I, like most other US farms balked at that idea and refused to register our farms. If I remember correctly, less that 20% of Us farmers complied and threatened to hold their products from the market. Under that cloud of rebellion and the action of the WTO COOL was abandoned by the US.
Would the COOL thing have hurt Canadian or Mexican farmers I can not say for certain but I do believe in would not have had much effect on farm imports from Canada as most Americans perceives that country as just a smaller version of our US. There was the mad cow scare about then so some decrease in beef imports from that country did occur.

With Mexico it might have caused some decrease in us consumption of their beef but not enough to cause any serious loss to their farmers as that meat is usually
priced lower that US produced meat. The COOL rule covered more that meat but other produce as well but it was meat that caused the most controversy. During the winter we might not have many tomatoes or other summer produce if not for Mexico.

From my point of view COOL was a dumb idea from day one. When I am hungry I set down and say pass the roast, potatoes and gravy . I never have asked, what country did this food come from.

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02-10-2018 06:26:53

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 Re: COOL in reply to 2underage, 02-09-2018 10:14:30  
a friend of ours takes his steers to a local butcher who said ted you are the customer has the govt. id tag no one else that i know does.

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Bruce from Can.

02-09-2018 10:51:26

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 Re: COOL in reply to 2underage, 02-09-2018 10:14:30  
Cool really hurt hog farm, both in Canada and the Satesfor a while. US had the feeder barns , feed , and packing plants, Canada had the sow barns. Screwed that up royally. Was mostly promoted by Midwest and western cow calf operations . And cost packers too much too keep cattle and hogs separate, so they didnít want Canadian livestock, so it did hurt Canada, and was out of step with the free trade deals. That is why the US lost at WTO

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Andy Martin

02-09-2018 10:33:19

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 Re: COOL in reply to 2underage, 02-09-2018 10:14:30  
My recollection is that it did not just happen about the time of mad cow disease. It was in response to mad cow disease and was an effort to track diseased cows back to the farm of origin. What a really bad idea.

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02-09-2018 11:19:49

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 Re: COOL in reply to Andy Martin, 02-09-2018 10:33:19  
The way it was explained to Canadian farmers if I remember right was that the US packers had to keep the Canadian and US product separate. Separate pens,separate kills,separate section in the cooler and such all the way down the line. Border states packing plants had to stop buying Canadian cattle or else they bid lower for our cattle to cover the extra costs of COOL. The poultry plant I work at does some halal product and occasionally some antibiotic free birds.All of the extra costs for inspection and segregation can be passed on to the customer but with generic beef it couldn't so the Canadian producers had to pay. The free trade agreements made it very cost effective to kill Canadian cattle in US plants and in some cases ship the meat back north. The mad cow and COOL hit us especially hard because years of free trade had gutted our packing industry meaning we didn't have capacity to slaughter on this side if the border.

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