Tyson Foods stops buying Canada slaughter cattle as costs rise

Reuters

CHICAGO, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Tyson Foods Inc said ithalted purchases of slaughter-ready cattle from Canada as ofmid-October due to higher costs associated with mandatorycountry-of-origin (COOL) labeling, a company spokesman said onThursday.

Tyson, the biggest meat processor in the United States, willcontinue buying Canadian feeder cattle that are finished formarket at U.S. feedlots, Tyson Foods spokesman Worth Sparkmansaid in an email.

"Like many others in the North American beef industry, we'revery disappointed by the changes made in the U.S. country oforigin labeling rules,"

He said COOL significantly increased the company's costs foradditional product codes, production breaks and segregation ofproduct. That product sorting includes a separate category forcattle shipped directly from Canada to U.S. beef plants,Sparkman said.

In early September, a U.S. district judge refused to blockthe government from requiring labels on packages of beef, pork,poultry and lamb sold in U.S. stores to include more specificinformation about the meat's country of origin.

U.S. meat packers asserted that the latest COOL requirementswould drive up their costs and make bookkeeping more difficult.

"We remain hopeful that these new rules will eventually berescinded, and we'll be able to resume buying cattle directlyfrom Canadian cattle feeders," Sparkman said.

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