New Administration Puts Freeze on COOL Regulations
Among the first official acts of the Obama administration was a directive from White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to all federal departments and agencies not to finalize any pending rule and to extend final-rule effective dates for 60 days. According to a news source, the block affects a Department of Agriculture rule that established requirements for country-of-origin labeling (COOL) on meat and other perishable foods. A regulatory analyst for a Washington-based government watchdog group reportedly observed that the freeze would “give USDA an opportunity to tighten up the rule.” Critics have apparently said that the Bush rule could weaken distinctions between U.S. and
imported meats by allowing domestic facilities that process domestic and imported animals to carry a multi-country label. See Bloomberg.com, January 21, 2009.