The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has published a proposed rule to amend the mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) provisions for muscle cut covered commodities (beef, including veal, lamb, chicken, goat, and pork; ground beef, ground lamb, ground chicken, ground goat, ground pork; wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish). The proposed rule would require the country of origin designation for muscle cuts of covered commodities to include location information for each production step of birth, raising, and slaughter.  The proposed rule would also eliminate the allowance for any commingling of muscle cut covered commodities of different origins.

The purpose of the proposed rule is to bring the COOL requirements into compliance with U.S. international trade obligations, in response to a ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body that the current COOL requirements violate the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade.

Comments on the proposed rule must be submitted by April 12, 2013.