Contributing Lawyers

Canada

Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross

Australia

Andrew Hudson



New Development in the COOL Dispute

Earlier this week, we posted a blog article about the renewal of Canada's December 2008 request for consultations at the World Trade Organization regarding the U.S. country of origin labelling of meat.

On May 2, 2009, the World Trade Organization issued a statement on the H1N1 virus.  The notice states:

The following statement was issued jointly on 2 May 2009 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization.

In light of the spread of influenza A/H1N1, and the rising concerns about the possibility of this virus being found in pigs and the safety of pork and pork products, we stress that pork and pork products, handled in accordance with good hygienic practices recommended by the WHO, FAO, Codex Alimentarius Commission and the OIE, will not be a source of infection.

To date there is no evidence that the virus is transmitted by food. There is currently therefore no justification in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Code for the imposition of trade measures on the importation of pigs or their products.

However it is important that Veterinary Authorities should collaborate with human health counterparts to monitor pig herds for any signs of unusual illness with suspected linkages to human cases of A/H1N1 influenza.

What does this statement do to discredit the U.S. COOL legislation?  If you cannot get ill from well-cooked meat, how can the United States justify the coutry of origin labelling?

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