The Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service has issued a final rule that, effective March 2, removes muscle cut beef and pork, ground beef and ground pork from the list of commodities covered by mandatory country of origin labeling requirements. As a result, retailers are no longer required to provide country of origin information for such beef and pork that they sell, and firms that supply such beef and pork to these retailers no longer have to provide them with that information. In addition, firms in the supply chain for such beef and pork are also relieved from the requirements associated with mandatory COOL.

Congress repealed the COOL requirements for these products in December to comply with an adverse ruling by the World Trade Organization and the threat of $1.1 billion in retaliatory sanctions by Canada and Mexico that were expected to take the form of higher import tariffs on U.S. goods such as agricultural products, furniture, machinery and home appliances. Taking the additional step of removing these requirements from USDA’s regulations should provide further assurance that those sanctions will not be imposed.

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