CHINA - A sharp attack has been made on the US stance on country of origin labelling by the Canadian Agriculture minister Gerry Ritz this week at the World Meat Congress in Beijing.
Mr Ritz, who is leading a trade delegation to China, said that there was a need for strong and robust trade networks to help boost Canada’s C$6 billion meat export trade.
He said that the meat sector needs to deliver precise specifications on time and this can only be done with sound science.
However, he said that unscientific trade barriers need to be rooted out.
“Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling is unscientific,” Mr Ritz said in his keynote address to the Congress.
“That politically driven measure is killing jobs.”
He said that Canadian beef is safe and is produced through safe production systems.
Mr Ritz added that Canadian meat production was sustainable and demand is rising for sustainable product, which is the result of socially responsible and economically viable programmes, which also include animal welfare measures.
He said that there is a need for strict biosecurity at the farm level and he added that animal health is also close to animal welfare.
“Robust traceability is necessary and Canada is a leader in traceability,” Mr Ritz said
He said that it is also important to reduce the carbon footprint of livestock production and it is necessary to take measure that embrace the environment, waste water, land use and genetics.
In this, he said the Canadian government si supporting research in livestock genomics.
He added: “We need to work towards international standards on food safety. Countries cannot isolate themselves.”
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