March 13, 2009, Winnipeg, Man. – Manitoba’s vegetable marketing
cooperative reports, while the adjustment to new U.S. Mandatory Country
of Origin Labelling (COOL) has been virtually seamless, the change has
resulted in some inconvenience for a few U.S. buyers.
March 13, 2009, Winnipeg, Man. – Manitoba’s vegetable marketing cooperative reports, while the adjustment to new U.S. Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) has been virtually seamless, the change has resulted in some inconvenience for a few U.S. buyers.
Mandatory U.S. Country of Origin Labelling regulations came into effect September 30, 2008, the final version of the law takes effect March 16. Full enforcement is expected to begin in April. In an average year, when growers produce an average to above average crop, the U.S. accounts for about 30 per cent of sales.
“For fresh vegetables – and mostly it’s potatoes and carrots that we’re shipping down there – it doesn’t have a large effect from our point of view,” said Larry McIntosh, president and CEO of Peak of the Market. “In Canada, we're not required to put Product of Canada on our packaging or our boxes but we always have because we’re very proud that we’ve grown our product in Canada so we’ve always said Product of Canada all over our product.”
In light of this, with the new regulations in the United States, Peak of the Market’s packaging was already in place. Where the complication occurs is when the company ships a load of potatoes to the U.S. that are re-packaged into a local brand. The new COOL legislation makes it more complicated for purchasers to buy product out of Canada because they have to have two sets of bags or two sets of boxes when they put them in the store. Peak of the Market has been working with buyers since the COOL legislations was first talked about years ago, requesting they get bags ready and print Product of Canada on the bags.
“For the most part, it’s been fairly seamless,” said McIntosh. “Our business to the United States has continued as it has before and most of our suppliers have simply got two bag inventories now. We’ve helped them wherever we can with abiding by the regulations because there’s a lot of confusion in the United States as well.”
McIntosh says Manitoba growers offer a consistently higher quality product and there’s a real demand for Canadian vegetables in the United States.
He hopes the rules can be sorted out and trade can continue both to and from the U.S. because the two markets are very reliant on each other.
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