WASHINGTON – The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on Thursday issued an interim final rule on country-of-origin labeling (COOL) and has invited comments.

The rule amends regulation to provide that, to receive approval by FSIS, any label for a meat or poultry product that is a covered commodity, as defined by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) interim final rule on COOL, must comply with that interim final rule.

AMS issued an interim final rule addressing mandatory COOL on Aug. 1 and covers muscle cuts of beef (including veal), lamb, chicken, goat and pork and ground beef, ground lamb, ground chicken, ground goat and ground pork; perishable agricultural commodities (fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables); peanuts; pecans, ginseng and macadamia nuts – as required by the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills. FSIS is not amending its regulations or labeling policies for meat or poultry products that are non-covered commodities.

FSIS is also amending its regulations to provide that the addition of a COOL statement on labels for meat and poultry product covered commodities that are to be sold by retailers and that comply with the AMS' interim final rule will be generically approved.

The FSIS interim final rule will be effective on Sept. 30, 2008. To allow time for covered commodities that are already in the chain of commerce to clear the system, the requirements of this rule will not apply to covered commodities produced or packaged before that date.

Comments must be received on or before Sept. 29 through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov or by mail to: Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service,

1400 Independence Avenue, SW
, Room 2534, South Building, Washington, D.C. 20250. All comments must identify FSIS and the docket number FSIS-2008-0027.


Source: Food Safety and Inspection Service