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FSIS issues interim final COOL rule

The US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service have issued an interim final rule amending its regulations to provide that, to receive approval by FSIS, any label for a meat or poultry product that is a covered commodity, as defined by the Agricultural Marketing Service interim final rule on country-of-origin labeling, must comply with that interim final rule.

Mandatory COOL
On Aug. 1, 2008, AMS issued an interim final rule addressing mandatory COOL, and covers muscle cuts of beef (including veal), lamb, chicken, goat and pork and ground beef, ground lamb, ground chicken, ground goat and ground pork; perishable agricultural commodities (fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables); peanuts; pecans, ginseng and macadamia nuts -- as required by the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills. FSIS is not amending its regulations or labelling policies for meat or poultry products that are non-covered commodities.

FSIS is also amending its regulations to provide that the addition of a COOL statement on labels for meat and poultry product covered commodities that are to be sold by retailers and that comply with the AMS' interim final rule will be generically approved. Currently, Federal meat and poultry product inspection regulations require COOL statements on the labels of immediate containers for imported products.

Date effective
The FSIS interim final rule will be effective on Sept. 30, 2008. To allow time for covered commodities that are already in the chain of commerce to clear the system, the requirements of this rule will not apply to covered commodities produced or packaged before that date.

Comments must be received on or before Sept. 29, 2008, through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. Comments will be available for view on FSIS' Web site.

Related Website
USDA
FSIS

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