Sep 16, 2013 by Lee Hart

Time to straighten out the USDA

Well I am heading into Washington, D.C. this morning. Sure it may look like I am on holidays, but the main purpose of my mission is to straighten out the Americans on a number of issues, including Country of Origin Labeling.

To the left behind me is Georgetown, over my head is the Watergate complex and to the right is the Kennedy Centre

To the left behind me is Georgetown, over my head is the Watergate complex and to the right is the Kennedy Centre

I looked in a couple grocery stores in Virginia and saw no sign of Canadian beef or meat products. But maybe this is the wrong part of the country to be looking. This is Smithfield country so they process a lot of pork here, and it looks like they have about 20 beef processing plants in Virginia and North Carolina – perhaps Canadian beef doesn’t make it this far south and east.

I did see one tube of ground beef in a Food Lion store in Williamsburg that showed it was a product of Canada and the U.S.A, but that was it. I checked a meat counter in Alexandria Virginia last night, and they had some nice looking beef cuts, but all U.S.A choice.

They even carried lamb from Iceland. I didn’t even know Iceland produced lamb.

I see by the street map we will be close to the U.S. Department of Agriculture today and I figured I would run in and ask “what the heck is going on with this COOL thing?”

While I have been on the road I see the U.S. District Court has rejected an appeal from the Canadian meat industry, which was all part of a process aimed at getting the U.S. to reverse rules calling for processors and retailers to label and segregate non-U.S. meat products. Not only is the U.S. sticking to its COOL mission they seem to be digging their heals in even deeper.

I don’t want to have to get ugly with them, but I will if I have to. If push comes to shove I may have to declare war on behalf of the Canadian government. That’s language these Americans understand.

But before I play hardball with the USDA we plan to see a few sites. Yesterday we took a boat ride on the Potomac River and passed by sites such as the U.S. Navy Research Laboratory, saw the Capitol building, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Kennedy Centre, Watergate buildings, Georgetown, and the Pentagon.

And finally the last couple days temperatures have been improving. The first week or 10 days temperatures ranged between 80 and 90 F degrees and it was like 100 per cent humidity. I can see why people sit on the front porch and fan themselves. But the last couple days temperatures have been in the 70 to 75 F range…so that is much improved.

We have allotted 90 minutes today to tour the Smithsonian Institute and that should be plenty to have a quick look at the history of the world since the beginning of time.

Lee Hart is a field editor for Grainews in Calgary, Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at [email protected]

 

Lee Hart

Lee Hart


Lee Hart is a long-time farm writer, and honorary member of the Alberta Institute of Agrologists, with many observations on the agriculture industry, who never hesitates to admit he is wrong (should that ever happen.)


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