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USDA proposes rule to modify COOL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) issued a proposed rule to modify the labeling provisions for muscle cut commodities covered under the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) program.

Under the proposed rule, origin designations for muscle-cut covered commodities derived from animals slaughtered in the United States would be required to specify the production steps of born, raised and slaughtered of the animal from which the meat is derived that took place in each country listed on the origin designation, the proposal says. In addition, this proposed rule would eliminate the allowance for any commingling of muscle cut covered commodities of different origins. These changes will provide consumers with more specific information about muscle cut covered commodities, AMS said.

“The proposed changes will increase the discrimination against exports of cattle and hogs from Canada and increase damages to the Canadian industry,” Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said. “Our government will consider all options, including retaliatory measures, should the United States not achieve compliance by May 23, as mandated by the WTO.”

The proposed rule has a 30-day comment period; comments must be received by April 11. The proposed rule is available in the Federal Register at www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-03-12/html/2013-05576.htm.

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