Human Nutrition, Diet and Health > HNDH Blog > Posts > Increased Information on Country of Origin Labeling of Meat
A recent USDA ruling (May 23, 2013) on meat labeling requires country of origin labeling (COOL) designations for muscle cut covered commodities derived from animals slaughtered in the United States. The COOL notification requirements can be met by using signs or placards in the meat section and/or stickers on individual packs of meat.

various meats

The commodities covered by the labeling requirement include muscle cuts of beef (including veal), lamb, chicken, goat, and pork; ground beef, ground lamb, ground chicken, ground goat, and ground pork. Labels are required to specify the production steps of birth, raising, and slaughter of the animal from which the meat is derived. In addition, this rule eliminates the allowance for commingling of muscle cut covered commodities of different origins. These changes will provide consumers with more specific information about the origin of muscle cut covered commodities.

A sample label, “Born, Raised, and Slaughtered in the United States”. The current COOL regulations permit the term “harvested” to be used in lieu of “slaughtered.”  Another sample label “Born and Raised in Country X, Slaughtered in the United States” - denotes an animal imported for immediate slaughter.

Field of cattle

No commingling of meat from various nations will be allowed.

Retailers and suppliers have six months to become educated on and fully transition over to the new requirements of the final rule.

For more information about meat processing check out the University of Florida's publication Food Processing: The Meat We Eat or an html version at

Submitted by Donna R. Shanklin, Regional Extension Agent - Human Nutrition, Diet & Health,, 256-200-2997


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