AFBF provides COOL compliance guidelines
Livestock producers must provide definitive origin
information to slaughter facilities under the new country-of-origin-labelling
(COOL) rule that went into effect this month. To help producers comply, the
American Farm Bureau Federation has prepared guidelines for providing necessary
COOL documentation to buyers.
Livestock producers may use one of the following methods to comply with
COOL and provide the required information to buyers:
• Affidavits – Packers may rely on
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. Producer and packer affidavits are available on the AFBF Voice
of Agriculture Web site and may be used to comply with COOL.
Producers can access the documents at:
• National Animal Identification System (NAIS): Animals that are part of a
NAIS-compliant system may rely on the presence of an official ear tag and/or the
presence of any accompanying animal markings, as applicable, to base origin
• 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, which contain a
source verification component, is also considered acceptable evidence to
substantiate COOL claims.
COOL is a USDA marketing program mandated in
the 2008 farm bill that requires retailers to notify their customers of the
country of origin of beef (including veal), goat meat, lamb, pork, poultry,
fish, pecans, peanuts, macadamia nuts 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
“Livestock producers 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,”
explained Caroline Rydell, director of congressional relations for AFBF.
“Definitive origin information must be provided to slaughter facilities so that
meat products, as covered commodities, can be accurately labelled at retail.
Livestock producers should be prepared to provide necessary country-of-origin
documentation to their buyers.”
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