Monday, January 12, 2009

U.S. Releases Details on Country-Of-Origin Labeling

(Journal of Commerce Online)

The Department of Agriculture today [Monday] 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 January 15 Federal Register and become effective on March 16.

The rule covers muscle cuts and ground beef, lamb, chicken, goat and pork; wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish; perishable agricultural commodities (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.

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.

Fish and shellfish must carry labels specifying their method of production, “wild” or “farm-raised.” Read more here and click here to read the text of the final rule.