USDA Encourages Voluntary COOL Practices

Final rule will to go into effect as planned.

U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that the final rule for country-of-origin labeling will go into effect March 16 as scheduled. The Secretary also released a letter that invites stakeholders to follow additional voluntary labeling practices.

Voicing his support for COOL Vilsack called the program a critical step toward providing consumers with additional information about the origin of their food. He added USDA will closely review industry compliance with the rule and evaluate the practicality of the suggestions for voluntary actions outlined in his letter.

According to a release from USDA, while the rule was under regulatory review Vilsack determined the best avenue for evaluating the program was allowing it to go into effect and carefully monitoring implementation and compliance by retailers and their suppliers. The evaluation period will give the Secretary the information he needs to decide whether additional rulemaking is necessary to provide consumers with adequate information.

For complete information on the COOL statute and regulation visit www.ams.usda.gov/cool.

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