Mexico joins WTO complaint on COOL

GENEVAMexico has reportedly joined Canada in opposing the new mandatory Country-of-Origin labeling (COOL) law in the United States.

The country on Thursday filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) opposing the rule on beef and pork products sold in the United States.

A WTO official reportedly said the body received Mexico's official complaint, which starts a 60-day consultation period between Mexican and U.S. authorities. After that, Mexico can ask the WTO to set up an investigative panel. Such trade disputes can result in punitive sanctions, but usually after years of litigation.

Canada had filed a complaint earlier in the month saying the rule discriminated against Canadian exporters.

Under country-of-origin labeling, foreign cattle and pigs must be segregated in U.S. feedlots and packing plants, reportedly prompting some companies to only deal with American livestock. Foreign animals are also required to have more documentation about where they come from and, in the case of cattle, must have tags that indicate they are free of mad cow disease.

The mandatory COOL law went into effect on Oct. 1.


Source: Associated Press

Oklahoma appeals poultry litter case

TULSA, Okla.Oklahoma on Monday filed an appeal in its effort to stop poultry companies from disposing of poultry waste in the Illinois River watershed.

The appeal was filed at the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

The state had previously tried to get an injunction to stop farmers in the region to stop using bird waste from the area’s poultry companies as a low-cost fertilizer.

U.S. District Judge Gregory K. Frizzell in September ruled that Oklahoma had not proved that bacteria in the Illinois River were caused by the waste instead of other sources.

Charlie Price, spokesman for Attorney General Drew Edmondson, told the press that ruling "contained several troubling, and we believe inaccurate, legal interpretations that we feel compelled to present to the higher court."

Jackie Cunningham, a spokeswoman for the poultry industry, reportedly said Tuesday the companies stood behind a statement they made when the injunction was denied: "It's very gratifying the court gave consideration to our position in this matter and then came to the conclusion in the opinion and the order," she said.

Companies named in the original complaint include Tyson Foods Inc., Tyson Poultry Inc., Tyson Chicken Inc., Cobb-Vantress Inc., Cal-Maine Foods Inc., Cargill Inc., Cargill Turkey Production LLC, George's Inc., George's Farms Inc., Peterson Farms Inc., Simmons Foods Inc., Cal-Maine Farms Inc. and Willow Brook Foods Inc.


Source: Associated Press

S. Korea to introduce beef tracking system

SEOULSouth Korea will reportedly introduce a cattle and beef tracking system to boost consumer confidence.

The country’s Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries told the press that measures will go into effect on Monday to require all ranchers to report and tag the details of animals to improve quality control and ensure a quick response during a recall.

The system also requires butchering facilities to check for ear tags and other records before processing cattle. This identification is intended to help consumers determine where the meat comes from.

The South Korean government reportedly passed a law authorizing the tracking system on Dec. 21, 2007, when the country first moved to reopen its market to U.S. beef.

The decision to open the market to U.S. imports in mid-April of this year raised public concerns about mad cow disease, and triggered nationwide protests. Since the renegotiation of an agreement between the United States and South Korea, American beef has been moving into the domestic market.


Source: Yonhap News Agency