Country of Origin Labeling (COOL)
The Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) rule is a mandatory labeling law that requires retailers to inform their customers on the country-of-origin of meat products including single-ingredient, unprocessed meat products, such as ground beef, roasts, chops and other cuts sold in retail stores.
Consumer awareness of COOL has increased since the law went into effect in 2008 and according to the 2012 Power of Meat Report -- 34 percent of shoppers are willing to pay more for U.S.-raised meat. Awareness of COOL is highest among consumers who saw the information on-pack versus signage within the meat department.
COOL is not a food safety tool, it is a marketing resource that provides consumers with information on the origin of beef products. USDA created four label categories for meat products to represent the variety of beef products sold in the U.S. Ground beef must be labeled with all countries of origin that are in a processor’s supply and might be used in any given batch.
The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is your best resource for information on the COOL rule.
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Additional Resources:USDA Agricultural Marketing Service
Beef Cut Charts
Images & Recipes
Protein Labeling Study
Nutrient Database for Fresh Meat and Poultry Product Labeling