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USDA Reopens Comment Period for Fish and Shellfish MCOOL

US - The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today that it is reopening the comment period for 90 days for the Interim Final Rule (IFR) for mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) for fish and shellfish covered commodities.

USDAs Agricultural Marketing Service is reopening the comment period to request general comments on the costs and benefits of the IFR. Comments addressing implementation costs, maintenance costs, benefits, and net economic impact are of special interest. Now that the IFR has been in effect since April 4, 2005, affected retailers and their suppliers should have considerable experience in complying with its requirements and the economic impacts associated with those practices. USDA will review the comments and information received as it promulgates a final rule for mandatory COOL for fish and shellfish.

USDA published the COOL requirements for fish and shellfish as an IFR in the October 5, 2004, Federal Register, with an effective date of April 4, 2005. The IFR requires designated retailers and their suppliers to notify customers of the country of origin and method of production of specified fish and shellfish products and maintain specific records. The full text of the IFR can be found at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/cool/coolfr.pdf (PDF).

Details of the comment period reopening were published in the Nov. 27, 2006, Federal Register. Comments may be sent via e-mail to cool@usda.gov; by mail to Country of Origin Labeling Program, Room 2607-S, Agricultural Marketing Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Stop 0254, Washington, DC 20250-0254; or by fax to (202) 720-1112, no later than Feb. 26, 2007. Additional information on this and the COOL program can be found at http://www.ams.usda.gov/cool/.

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