USDA has reopened the comment period for 60 days for the proposed rule for mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) for beef, lamb, pork, perishable agricultural commodities and peanuts. The COOL law, which currently is scheduled to go into effect in September 2008, requires retailers to provide country of origin information for specified beef, pork and lamb products.

Details of the comment period reopening were published in the June 20 issue of the Federal Register. Comments are due Aug. 20 and should be submitted online at www.regulations.gov; via e-mail to cool@usda.gov; by mail to COOL, Room 2607-S, Agricultural Marketing Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Stop 0254, Washington, DC 2025-0254; or by fax to 202-720-1112. Find more information on this issue and the COOL program by going to: www.ams.usda.gov/cool.

Persons providing comments should consider that USDA has changed some definitions and requirements in the interim final rule for fish and shellfish, which were published after the proposed rule, that would now be applicable to all covered commodities. USDA will review the comments and information received as it promulgates a final rule for mandatory COOL for all covered commodities. Go to www.ams.usda.gov/cool/ls0304.pdf to view the full text of the COOL rule.