USDA Amends Country of Origin Labeling Requirements, Final Rule Repeals Beef and Pork Requirements

Date: 
Monday, February 29, 2016 - 3:00pm
Contact Info: 

Release No.: 047-16

WASHINGTON, Feb. 29, 2016 – As directed by the United States Congress through Public Law 114-113, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is issuing a final rule that amends the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) regulations by removing the requirements for muscle cuts of beef and pork, and ground beef and pork.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 repealed these COOL requirements and immediately after the legislation was passed, USDA stopped enforcing the COOL requirements for beef and pork effective Dec. 18, 2015.

COOL is a labeling law that for marketing purposes requires retailers to provide their customers with information regarding the country of origin of regulated commodities.  AMS is responsible for the administration and enforcement of COOL regulations.

Under this final rule, beef and pork muscle cuts and ground beef and pork are removed from the list of covered commodities subject to the COOL regulation.  Retailers are no longer required to provide this information for beef and pork at the point of sale.  COOL regulatory requirements for chicken, lamb, goat, farm-raised and wild caught fish and shellfish, perishable agricultural commodities, peanuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, and ginseng are still in effect.

All imported and domestic meat products continue to be subject to rigorous inspections by USDA to ensure food safety.

The final rule will be published in the Federal Register on March 2, 2016, and is effective upon publication.  For additional information, contact AMS by phone at (202) 720-4486 or send an email to: cool@ams.usda.gov.

Get the latest Agricultural Marketing Service news at http://www.ams.usda.gov/news or follow us on Twitter @USDA_AMS. You can also read about us on the USDA blog.

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