Mandatory Country Of Origin Labeling Defined

US - With the mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) law set to come into effect, the National Meat Association (NMA) have decided to provide a summary of what exactly the change will entail.
calendar icon 9 June 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

The commodities that are covered by the mandatory COOL include: Muscle cuts of beef, lamb, chicken, goat, and pork; and ground beef, ground lamb, ground chicken, ground goat, and ground pork.

According to the NMA, on-meat ingredients are not a part of mandatory COOL. Also, if the commodity is an ingredient in a processed food item, the covered commodity is then excluded from mandatory COOL.

A processed food item in this case would mean a retail item derived from a covered commodity that has undergone specific processing resulting in a change in the character of the covered commodity, or that has been combined with at least one other covered commodity or other substantive food component (e.g., chocolate, breading, tomato sauce), except that the addition of a component (such as water, salt, or sugar) that enhances or represents a further step in the preparation of the product for consumption, would not in itself result in a processed food item.

Specific processing that results in a change in the character of a covered commodity includes cooking, curing, smoking and restructuring (e.g., emulsifying, extruding, or compressing into patties or meatballs). Examples of items excluded as a covered commodity include teriyaki flavored pork loin, roasted beef, breaded chicken tenders, and beef patties. For commodities to receive U.S. COOL labeling, the beef, pork, lamb, chicken or goat must be:

  • From animals exclusively born, raised, and slaughtered in the U.S.;

  • From animals born and raised in Alaska or Hawaii and transported for a period of not more than 60 days through Canada to the U.S. and slaughtered in the U.S.; or

  • From animals present in the U.S. on or before July 15, 2008 and once present in the U.S., remained continuously in the U.S.

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