USDA strengthens enforcement of COOL, mandatory reporting

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The agency issued a final rule allowing action against violators.
WASHINGTON – The Agriculture Marketing Service of the US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) released a final rule allowing USDA to levy civil penalties and take other actions against violators of the Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR) and the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) regulations.

The final rule allows up to $10,000 in fines per violation of the LMR.

The final rule also authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to take enforcement actions, including civil penalties, for COOL violations “after providing notice and an opportunity for a hearing before the Secretary with respect to the violation, not to have made good faith effort to comply with Country of Origin Labeling regulations and has continued to willfully violate these regulations.

Retailers and anyone who supplies covered commodities to retailers are impacted by the rule. Covered commodities include muscle cuts of lamb and venison; ground lamb and ground venison; meat produced from goats; chicken, in whole and in part; and other items. These items are not considered covered commodities if the items are an ingredient in a processed food item.

The final rule was published Aug. 9 in the Federal Register.


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