With mandatory country-of-origin labeling scheduled to take effect on Sept. 30, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has issued a document clarifying the rules as they apply to livestock producers.

A key provision is that USDA will accept producer affidavits as evidence of their livestock's country of origin. Producers who buy or contract animals-- as in the case of weaned pig or feeder pig finishers-- who commingle animals from multiple sources will be able to use the suppliers' initial affidavits to produce their own affidavits identifying the animals' origin in the commingled lot.

The AMS document also lists other types of records that will meet the requirements for the mandatory COOL verification, including birth records, receiving records, purchase records, animal-health papers, sales receipts and documents for participation in USDA Quality System Verification Programs or the National Animal Identification System.

The rule, which was formally published in the Federal Register on Aug.1, can be viewed by clicking here.