FSIS: Generic Approval for COOL Issued

US - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued an interim final rule (IFR) allowing for generic approval of changes to meat and poultry product labeling necessitated by mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL).
calendar icon 29 August 2008
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To be consistent with the COOL statute and the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) IFR published on August 1, 2008, the FSIS IFR also will become effective on September 30, 2008, and its provisions do not apply to covered commodities produced or packaged before September 30, 2008.

Because many meat and chicken products are covered commodities under COOL, FSIS is amending its regulations to 1) provide that adding country of origin labeling statements to comply with the AMS IFR will be considered to be generically approved and 2) require that a country of origin statement on the label of a meat or poultry product that is a covered commodity to be sold by a retailer must comply with the AMS’ interim final rule.

Generically approved labeling is labeling that “complies with the following: (1) Labeling for a product …which does not contain any special claims, such as quality claims, nutrient content claims, health claims, negative claims, geographical origin claims, or guarantees, or which is not a domestic product labeled in a foreign language.” FSIS is amending the generic approval regulations to create an exception by including a provision that adding country of origin statements in compliance with the AMS COOL interim final rule will be considered to be generically approved.

However, other types of geographic or origin claims are not affected by this IFR and in the preamble FSIS states that making country of origin statements on meat or poultry products that are not covered commodities pursuant to the AMS rule “generally are not generically approved labeling.” The FSIS IFR also amends the labeling provisions pertaining to false or misleading labeling or practices such that a product bearing an origin statement that does not satisfy the provisions of AMS IFR could be deemed to be misbranded.

Further Reading

- You can view the FSIS rule by clicking here.
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