The rule covers muscle cuts and ground beef (including veal), lamb, chicken, goat, and pork; perishable agricultural commodities; macadamia nuts; pecans; ginseng; and peanuts as required by the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills. USDA implemented the COOL program for fish and shellfish covered commodities in October 2004.
Commodities covered under COOL must be labeled at retail to indicate their country of origin. However, they are excluded from mandatory COOL if they are an ingredient in a processed food item.
USDA said it has also revised the definition of a processed food item so that items derived from a covered commodity that has undergone a physical or chemical change (e.g., cooking, curing, smoking) or that has been combined with other covered commodities or other substantive food components (e.g., chocolate, breading, tomato sauce) are excluded from COOL labeling.
Foodservice establishments, such as restaurants, lunchrooms, cafeterias, food stands, bars, lounges, and similar enterprises are exempt from the mandatory requirements.
The law provides for penalties for both suppliers and retailers found in violation of the law of up to $1,000 per violation.
Copies of the interim final rule and additional information can be found at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/COOL.