On May 23, 2013 the final COOL rule was released and became effective immediately with a six month educational period for retailers until November 23, 2013. In summary the new rule eliminates the allowance for commingling of muscle cut covered commodities of different origins and requires designations for meat muscle cuts to specify the country in which production steps of birth, raising, and slaughter of the animal from which the meat is derived took place. More resources on the COOL rule can be seen below:
In September of 2013, NGA sent a letter to the USDA requesting a delay in enforcement and a continuation of the education and outreach period of the new COOL regulations until the WTO reaches a final resolution of the pending complaint by Canada and Mexico against the US regarding the Rule. NGA will keep members updated on the USDA’s response.
COOL Enforcement and Compliance Changes to Occur in 2014 In lieu of a recent business process review examining the effectiveness and cost efficiency of COOL enforcement processes (as well as reductions in budget appropriations) the USDA will be changing current COOL enforcement policy starting in fiscal year 2014.
2009 Final Rule for COOL In January of 2009, the USDA published its final rule for Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) covering fish, shellfish, muscle cuts and ground product of beef (including veal), lamb, pork, chicken, goat; perishable agriculture commodities, macadamia nuts, pecans, ginseng, and peanuts. The final rule went into effect on March 16, 2009.
NGA and FMI Issue Guidance on COOL It is important that you ensure that your stores identify a country of origin for every covered commodity. To help at store level, we have developed Quick Sheets that break down the store level country of origin labeling requirements for the produce, meat, and seafood departments. You should review the sheets to make sure that they reflect the instructions to your store personnel. • Produce • Meat • Seafood * Please note that these sheets do not address record keeping. Retailers do have an obligation to keep records (1) to verify the country of origin claim for all covered commodities until they are sold; and (2) to be able to identify their suppliers.