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USDA amends rules of practice to strengthen enforcement of LMR and COOL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) issued a final rule Aug. 8, 2017, allowing USDA to take action as needed, including levying civil penalties, against violators of the Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR) and the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) regulations. The action extends the current rules of practice under the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, as amended, to include LMR and COOL violations.

The rules of practice for LMR and COOL set a clear and efficient process for all stakeholders regarding any enforcement actions and facilitate the agency’s work to ensure timely compliance.

Livestock Mandatory Reporting was developed to facilitate open, transparent price discovery and provide all market participants, both large and small, with comparable levels of market information for slaughter cattle, swine, sheep, boxed beef, lamb meat, and wholesale pork.

When someone fails to meet the LMR reporting requirements it impacts the ability of AMS to publish timely and reliable livestock information that the industry relies upon. The COOL program ensures consumers have information regarding the origin of many foods available in the marketplace. In 2016, final rules were enacted to remove muscle cut beef and pork, and ground beef and pork from mandatory COOL requirementsCOOL regulatory requirements are still in effect for the remaining covered commodities: muscle cut and ground chicken, lamb, and goat; wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish; fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables; peanuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, and ginseng.

Enforcement provisions in the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 allow up to $10,000 in fines per violation for violating the LMR regulations. Additionally, the Act allows fines for a retailer or person engaged in the business of supplying a covered commodity that willfully violates COOL regulations.

A notice will be published in the Aug. 9, 2017, Federal Register.

For additional information, contact Doug McKalip, Acting Director, Country of Origin Labeling Division at (202) 720-4486; or Michael Lynch, Director, Livestock, Poultry, and Grain Market News Division at (202) 720-4846.

Source: USDA AMS

Aug 11, 2017 General Discussion