- The COOL statute covers beef, pork, lamb, chicken, goat meat, wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish, perishable agricultural commodities, peanuts, pecans, ginseng, and macadamia nuts.
- The revised rule primarily focuses on beef and pork.
- Comments opposing the rule concerned costs of implementing the changes in the COOL labels and losing the ability to commingle cattle processed on the same day.
During the 30-day comment period, the AMS received 936 comments from stakeholders ranging from consumers to foreign governments. Of those comments, 453 “including four petitions signed by more than 40,000 individuals…indicated that the proposed rule makes labels more informative for consumers.”
The remaining “476 comments opposing the rule [came] from numerous producer, packer, and international trading partner entities, as well as individual ranchers, packing companies and Foreign Government officials.”
Many of the comments opposing the rule were concerned with the costs of implementing the changes in the COOL labels and losing the ability to commingle cattle processed on the same day, including the costs of segregating animals depending on the label to be used. As a result, the AMS revised the cost estimates that were contained in the proposed rule. The new estimate of costs ranges from $53.1 million to $137.8 million.
Language was of concern to some who made comments. One “recommended that chicken should be labeled “hatched” instead of “born.” This commenter, as well as others stated their opposition to having to use the term “slaughtered.” They suggested alternatives that consumers may find more acceptable including “harvested” or “processed.” The agency explained that those terms were already permissible under COOL regulations.
In addition, “in terms of using labels and stickers to provide the origin information, the Agency recognizes there is limited space to include the specific location information for each production step. Therefore, under this final rule, abbreviations for the production steps are permitted as long as the information can be clearly understood by consumers. For example, consumers would likely understand “brn” as meaning “born”; “htchd” as meaning “hatched”; “raisd” as meaning “raised”; “slghtrd” meaning “slaughtered’ or “hrvstd” as “harvested.” In addition, the current COOL regulations allow for some use of country abbreviations.”