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New Country-of-Origin Guidelines Required For Cattle Producers

SEPT. 12, 2008-- Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) implemented by the U.S.D.A. Agriculture Marketing Service will become effective Sept. 30, says Brenda Boetel, University of Wisconsin Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist and associate professor of agricultural economics at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Beef, pork, lamb, chicken, goat, as well as fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables sold in retail establishments will be required to have a label stating the origin of the commodity. Slaughter facilities must possess or have access to records that substantiate the origin claim.

Cattle and swine producers need to be aware of the impact this law will have on them, says Boetel. "A producer affidavit shall be considered acceptable evidence on which the slaughter facility may rely to initiate the origin claim, provided it is made by someone having first-hand knowledge of the origin of the animals and identifies the animals unique to the transaction," she says.  

A producer's existing records will be sufficient to document animal origin, Boetel said. Examples of records that can be used include the following: beginning inventory, birth records, feed purchases, animal health or vaccine purchases, balance sheet, income statement, closeout records. Any animal additions to the producer's herd need to have a signed affidavit and adequate documentation of origin.  

Records on breeding animals also need to be kept, says Boetel. Producers should keep records of raised animals used for breeding and should request an affidavit for any purchased cows or bulls. All animals in the United States as of July 15, 2008, are considered to be of U.S. origin. "It is important for producers to document herd size and composition for these animals that are 'grandfathered' in under this date, especially young cows that may not be sold for several years," says Boetel.

More information about the new law is available at or contact Boetel at 715.425.3176.


Last updated: Thursday, 22-Apr-2010 16:09:10 Central Daylight Time


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