Today, country-of-origin labeling regulations take effect and producers must be able to tell the origin for each load of pigs they sell.
“The COOL rule has been in the works for years,” said Steve Larsen, director of pork safety for the National Pork Board. “It was in the 2002 Farm Bill and it’s finally time to implement it. It will not affect all producers, but it will affect most.”
COOL directly affects retailers and packers, but to be compliant these customers will need producers to participate too. “You don’t only have to sell market hogs to have a responsibility under COOL regulations,” said Larsen. “If you sell weaned pigs for another producer to finish, you have a responsibility. You must provide your customers with a declaration of origin –also known as a producer affidavit- of those pigs. If you are the buyer, you must request the document because you will be asked for the information when it’s your time to sell the animals.”
Some producers will not be affected by COOL. “My best advice to producers is: ask your customer, be it a packer, a locker or another producer, if you need any documentation to accompany your pigs as a result of COOL coming into effect.”
The NPB has put together a Web site dedicated to COOL. There, producers can find more details on COOL including exceptions to the rule, sample affidavits from industry customers and answers to frequently asked questions. The Web page can be accessed by clicking here.