(COOL) is a USDA marketing program mandated by the 2002 Farm Bill which
requires retailers to notify their customers of the country of origin of
beef (including veal), goat meat, lamb, pork, poultry, fish and other perishable
agricultural commodities. Retailers, packers and their suppliers are mutually
responsible for contributing the information necessary to meet the requirements
of this new law, which becomes effective Sept. 30, 2008.
What This Means:
are not directly regulated by the COOL law because livestock are not considered
covered commodities. However, only producers have first-hand knowledge
concerning the origin of their animals. Definitive origin information must
be provided to slaughter facilities so that meat products as covered commodities
can be accurately labeled at retail. Livestock producers should be prepared
to provide necessary country of origin documentation to their buyers.
How To Comply With
Producers may use
one of the following methods to comply with the COOL law and provide required
country-of-origin information to buyers.
may rely upon producer affidavits to initiate claims. Affidavits must be
made by someone having first-hand knowledge and the affidavit must identify
animals unique to the transaction. TSCRA has provided affidavits that may
be used to comply with COOL.
National Animal Identification
System (NAIS): Animals that are part of a NAIS-compliant system may rely
on presence of an official ear tag and/or the presence of any accompanying
animal markings, as applicable, to base origin claims.
USDA-Approved Age Verification
Programs: Participation in USDA Quality System Verification Programs (QSVP),
such as the USDA Process Verified Program (PVP) and the Quality Systems
Assessment (QSA) Program that contain a source verification component,
is also considered acceptable evidence to substantiate COOL claims.