On Thursday before a press briefing, Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer signed the final rule for mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling, which will be submitted into the Federal Register Friday.
"This is not a food safety issue, this is not a competitive issue or a trade issue," Schafer said. "This is a marketing issue; this is the ability for U.S. producers to label our meats and let the consumer decide."
Mandatory COOL applies to meats and produce. Modifications to COOL have been advocated by several groups during the waiting period between the interim rule and the final rule. Those modifications will be reflected when the rule is published in the Federal Register.
"All in all we struck a good balance with the rules and regulations on the COOL legislation," Schafer said. "Some people wanted it to be more, some people wanted it to be less, but it is a good balance. It's something that we are real proud of finally accomplishing it since 2002 when we've been working on it."