The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced details of the final regulation for the mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) program required by the 2002 and 2008 farm bills.
The full text of the final rule will be published in the Jan. 15, 2009 Federal Register. The rule becomes effective on March 16, 2009, 60 days after the date of publication.
The rule covers muscle cuts and ground beef, lamb, chicken, goat and pork; wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish; perishable agricultural commodities (specifically fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables); macadamia nuts; pecans; ginseng and peanuts.
The rule prescribes specific criteria that must be met for a covered commodity to bear a "United States country of origin" declaration. In addition, the rule also contains provisions for labeling covered commodities of foreign origin, meat products from multiple origins, ground meat products, as well as commingled covered commodities.
Copies of the final rule and additional information are on display on line at www.ams.usda.gov/COOL
Source: USDA – United States Department of Agriculture