USDA issues final rule on COOL

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued its final rule for mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) as required by two federal farm bills.

The full text of the rule will be published in the Jan. 15 Federal Register. The rule reportedly becomes effective on March 16, 60 days after its publication

The rule covers the labeling requirements for muscle cuts of beef, pork, lamb, chicken and goat, and ground beef, lamb, chicken, goat and pork; wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish; perishable agricultural commodities; macadamia nuts; pecans; ginseng and peanuts. 

Reports said that processed food items are exempt from labeling and the definition of those items remains unchanged from the Aug. 1, 2008, interim final rule. The final rule also outlines the recordkeeping requirements for retailers and suppliers. The law provides for penalties of up to $1,000 per violation for both retailers and suppliers not complying with the law.

A complete summary of the final rule and more information on COOL compliance, can be found at Copies of the final rule and additional information are available at


Source: American Meat Institute

National Beef reports lower loss

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – National Beef Packing Co. LLC said Tuesday that it was able to lower its fiscal first quarter loss compared to a year ago.

The beef processor reportedly said in a filing that it lost $2.8 million in the quarter ending Nov. 29, compared to $24.5 million for the same period last year.

The company reportedly said a 6 percent increase in beef prices was offset by a 3.1 percent decline in the number of cattle processed.

National Beef’s planned sale to Brazilian processor JBS SA is on hold while JBS deals with an anti-trust lawsuit from the U.S. Justice Department and several state attorneys general.


Source: Associated Press

Construction underway on Tyson fuel plant

GEISMAR, La. – Tyson Foods Inc. announced Monday that initial construction is underway for a renewable fuels plant in Geismar, La.

The Dynamic Fuels plant is a joint venture between Tyson and Syntroleum Corp.

The company said that construction offices are in place and foundations are being poured for the new facility. Once built, the plant will convert animal fats and greases from Tyson facilities into renewable diesel and jet fuel.

Jeff Webster, group vice president of Tyson's renewable products division, said, “We’re pleased with the progress made on this important renewable fuels project. Tyson is committed to revolutionizing the conversion of raw materials and by-products into high-margin initiatives, and the Dynamic Fuels venture is a cornerstone of this corporate strategy.”

The project is reportedly scheduled for mechanical completion by the end of 2009, followed by commissioning, start-up and ramp up to full operations by mid-2010.


Source: Tyson Foods Inc.

Minn. processor to pay $40,000

BUFFALO LAKE, Minn. – A meat processor in Buffalo Lake, Minn. has reportedly agreed to pay a $40,000 civil penalty for alleged violations of wastewater, permitting and hazardous waste rules.

Media reports said that the agreement with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) requires North Star Beef, Minnesota Beef and William Gilger to pay the penalty and correct violations.

MPCA inspections in March reportedly documented unauthorized discharges, mismanagement of land application, and record-keeping violations.

The state agency’s inspectors were reported to have observed the mishandling of waste resulting in an unapproved discharge of blood, water and manure into a ditch.

The agreement reportedly requires the company to submit plans to prevent unpermitted discharges and to design and implement an environmental management system.


Source: Associated Press