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August 20, 2008   Email to Friend 

Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
August 20, 2008

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- John Lawrence, director of the Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University, will join ISU professor James McKean, and other livestock experts as the university hosts a Web conference on Aug. 25, 7 p.m., to explain Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) to producers and the effect the new law will have on the livestock industry.

"There's no need for producers to panic, but we should pay attention and be prepared," Lawrence was quoted as saying on ISU's University Extension Web site. "Sellers are likely to ask for an affidavit stating the origin of the animal, but buyers' normal records should be sufficient to back up the affidavit."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued an interim final rule on July 29 for the COOL program that becomes effective Sept. 30.

The rule covers muscle cuts and ground beef (including veal), lamb, chicken, goat, and pork; perishable agricultural commodities (fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables); pecans; and peanuts -- as required by the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills. USDA implemented the COOL program for fish and shellfish covered commodities in October 2004.

Commodities covered under COOL must be labeled at retail to indicate their country of origin. However, they are excluded from mandatory COOL if they are an ingredient in a processed food item.

Michelle Elmore, an animal scientist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, and Dr. Lisa Kriese-Anderson, associate professor in Auburn University's Department of Animal Sciences, are urging livestock producers from throughout the state to contact their regional Extension agent for locations on possible central sites.

"If you cannot attend the central site or a site is not available in your area, you can watch it from home if you have a good Internet connection, but you will also need phone access for the audio," said Elmore.

To join the Monday night Web conference, log in at connect.extension.iastate.edu/mcool/ by entering your name under the "Enter as a Guest" heading. Click on "Enter Room." The instructions that detail how to join the integrated phone audio conference will be on the screen when you join the meeting.

Anytime before the meeting you can visit the following URL to confirm your ability to connect to the Connect server: www.extension.iastate.edu/testconnect/

For more information, contact Elmore at (205) 646-0115, email elmormf@auburn.edu.

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