USDA Reloads on COOL
February 15, 2013

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has submitted to the Office of Budget Management a new draft of country-of-origin labeling (COOL) regulations in order to comply with international trade law. 
 
The World Trade Organization (WTO) recently required USDA to adjust its COOL policies, requiring U.S. retailers to clearly label where meat was raised and processed. WTO said that although the United States can require meat labeling, current COOL rules do not meet WTO standards, and the United States has until May 23 to bring its rules into compliance. 
 
"While we cannot discuss the specifics of the draft rule, we can say that the draft rule proposes to modify the COOL labeling provisions for muscle cut meats including beef (including veal), lamb (including mutton), pork, goat and chicken," Sam Jones-Ellard, spokesman for USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service, said in an emailed statement. "All interested parties will have an opportunity to comment on any proposed regulatory action. We can assure you that any proposed changes to the COOL regulations will be consistent with our commitment to ensure that consumers are provided with accurate origin information as Congress intended." 
 
Reprinted in part from Feedstuffs