The 2002 farm bill (P.L. 107-171) as modified by the FY2004 USDA appropriation (P.L. 108-199) mandates retail country-of-origin labeling (COOL) for fresh produce, red meats, and peanuts starting September 30, 2006, and for seafood starting September 30, 2004. Some in Congress still strongly support mandatory COOL, especially after discoveries since 2003 of “mad cow” disease in four Canadian-born cattle. Others counter that COOL is a marketing, not an animal or human health, concern and should be voluntary.
This report focuses on animal ID and meat traceability. However, traceability, and the somewhat different but related concepts of “identity preservation” and “product segregation,” also pertain to other agricultural products (e.g., grains) and issues (e.g., genetically modified, or GM, crops; the labeling of GM foods; and the production and labeling of organic foods)