USDA Country of Origin Labeling Rule to Take Effect March 16, 2009

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced February 20, 2009 that the USDA's January 15, 2009 final rule on mandatory country of origin labeling will go into effect as scheduled March 16, 2009. 

Under the COOL regulation, muscle cuts and ground beef, pork, lamb, goat, and chicken, wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, peanuts, pecans, macadamia nuts and ginseng must be labeled at retail to indicate their country of origin. The final rule outlines requirements for labeling covered commodities and the recordkeeping requirements for retailers and suppliers, prescribes specific criteria that must be met for a commodity to bear a "United States Country of Origin" declaration and contains provisions for labeling covered commodities of foreign origin.