The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a proposed rule that
would revise Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements for muscle cuts
of meat and amend the definition of “retailer” to include “any person subject to
be licensed as a retailer under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.”

Under the proposed rule, “origin destinations for muscle cut covered commodities derived from animals slaughtered in the United States would be required to specify the production steps of birth, raising, and slaughter of the animal from which the meat is derived that took place in each country listed on the origin designation.” According to USDA, the proposed rule would also “eliminate the allowance for any commingling of muscle cut covered commodities of different origins.” The proposal does not change “existing country of origin labeling of imported muscle cuts derived from animals slaughtered in another country.”

The agency said that it “expects that these changes will improve the overall operation of the program and also bring the current mandatory COOL requirements into compliance with U.S. international trade obligations.” The proposed rule changes follow a June 2012 World Trade Organization ruling which found that U.S. meat-labeling laws discriminated against imported livestock from other countries such as Canada and Mexico. FDA will accept comments on the proposal until April 11, 2013. See Federal Register, March 12, 2013.

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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