Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling of Beef, Pork, Lamb, Chicken, Goat Meat, Perishable Agricultural Commodities, Peanuts, Pecans, Ginseng, and Macadamia Nuts
The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (2002 Farm Bill), the 2002 Supplemental Appropriations Act (2002 Appropriations), and the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) amended the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (Act) to require retailers to notify their customers of the country of origin of covered commodities. Covered commodities include muscle cuts of beef (including veal), lamb, chicken, goat, and pork; ground beef, ground lamb, ground chicken, ground goat, and ground pork; wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish; perishable agricultural commodities; macadamia nuts; pecans; ginseng; and peanuts. The implementation of mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) for all covered commodities, except wild and farm- raised fish and shellfish, was delayed until September 30, 2008. The 2008 Farm Bill contains a number of provisions that amended the COOL provisions in the Act. These changes include the addition of chicken, goat, macadamia nuts, pecans, and ginseng as covered commodities, the addition of provisions for labeling products of multiple origin, as well as a number of other changes that are discussed more fully in the Supplementary Information portion of this rule. However, the implementation date of September 30, 2008, was not changed by the 2008 Farm Bill. Therefore, in order to meet the September 30, 2008, implementation date and to provide the newly affected industries the opportunity to provide comments prior to issuing a final rule, the Department is issuing this interim final rule. This interim final rule contains definitions, the requirements for consumer notification and product marking, and the recordkeeping responsibilities of both retailers and suppliers for covered commodities. The provisions in this interim final rule do not affect the regulatory requirements for fish and shellfish that were published in the October 5, 2004, Federal Register.