Labeling (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,
To Comply With COOL:
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.
Producers may use
one of the following methods to comply with the COOL law and provide required
country-of-origin information to buyers.
to Use Affidavits:
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.
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.
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
The industry has
developed recommended country of origin affidavit statements, each of which
is explained below:
If you raise, purchase,
or sell cattle from/to a non-packer individual/company/entity, there are
Complete the Producer Affidavit entitled “Affidavit of Country of Origin
of Livestock”. If provided to a party you frequently sell to, check
"Affidavit valid for future sales of livestock to this agent/buyer" and
an affidavit is only required one time.
Include the following statement on any of your business forms (printed,
stamped or handwritten on a Bill of Sale or Invoice).
This statement must appear on the business form every time the animals
are bought or sold:
that all livestock referenced by this document and transferred are of _________________________
If you sell
directly to a packer, you should complete the Producer Affidavit entitled
"Affidavit for Livestock sold directly to a Packer".