USDA Issues Proposed Rule to Amend Country of Origin Labeling Provisions; Invites Public Comments

Thursday, January 12, 2017 - 3:00pm

Release No.: 011-17   

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will publish a proposed rule to amend the country of origin labeling (COOL) regulation to add muscle cuts of venison and ground venison to the list of commodities covered under the labeling law.

The Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill) directed AMS to add muscle cuts of venison and ground venison to the list of covered commodities subject to mandatory COOL requirements.  Once finalized, retailers and suppliers would be required to keep records and provide their customers notification of the country of origin of muscle cuts and ground venison that they sell.  Individuals that supply venison would be required to establish and maintain country of origin information for venison and supply this information to retailers.  Producers, handlers, manufacturers, wholesalers, importers, and retailers of venison would be affected.

The proposed rule will publish in the Jan. 13, 2017, Federal Register.  Comments must be submitted by March 14, 2017, and may be posted at, or sent to: COOL Division; Livestock, Poultry, and Seed Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA; Room 2614-S, STOP 0216; 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20250-0216; telephone (202) 720-4486; or email  All comments should reference docket number AMS-LPS-16-0014; the date of submission; and the page number of the issue of the Federal Register.

COOL is a labeling law that requires retailers to notify their customers with information regarding the source of certain foods.  Food products covered by the law include muscle cut and ground meats: lamb, goat, and chicken; wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish; fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables; peanuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts; and ginseng.  Mandatory COOL requirements help consumers make informed purchasing decisions about the food they buy.  AMS is responsible for the implementation, administration and enforcement of the COOL regulations.  To learn more about the COOL program, visit

Get the latest Agricultural Marketing Service news at or follow us on Twitter @USDA_AMS. You can also read about us on the USDA blog.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).