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Saskatchewan premier hopeful U.S. meat-labelling law will be repealed

REGINA — Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says proposed U.S. legislation that would repeal a meat-labelling law is hopeful news.

Wall says the province has long wanted the United States to get rid of mandatory country-of-origin labelling, known as COOL, on beef and pork.

The labelling law is blamed for reducing Canadian cross-border meat exports by half and costing the western Canadian beef industry $1 billion a year.

The premier says repealing the law would increase beef and pork exports and have an almost immediate impact on Canadian cattle producers.

The reference to meat labels is part of expansive funding legislation that still needs to pass both chambers of Congress and get signed by the president.

Wall says no one wants to jinx anything, but he thinks people are optimistic that COOL will be repealed.

U.S. rules on country-of-origin labels were introduced in 2002 and have been enforced since 2008. Proponents says it's a fair way of letting consumers know where their food comes from.

Opponents say it's disguised protectionism and irrelevant to food safety because there are already inspections. Some U.S. companies have said they can't afford to sort, label and store meat from Canada differently than meat from domestic animals.

Canada and Mexico have been set to impose more than $1 billion in punitive measures on a wide range of U.S. goods.

The Canadian Press

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