With mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) on the horizon, USDA has announced that producers who enroll cattle in AngusSource can use the program to substantiate COOL claims.

The COOL law provides for the use of qualified producer affidavits, on which packers can rely to initiate the origin claim, according to Jim Riva, chief of USDA’s audit, review and compliance branch. Riva says participation in USDA Quality System Verification Programs that contain a source-verification component can also be used to substantiate COOL claims.

AngusSource, a USDA Process Verified Program for Angus-sired calves verifies source, age and a minimum of 50 percent Angus genetics. It is the source-verification component that provides traceability to the ranch of origin that can be used by the industry to meet COOL requirements.

“The goal of the AngusSource program is to add value to Angus-sired calves,” says Sara Moyer-Snider, director of AngusSource. “As the industry has evolved, AngusSource has adapted to help producers meet marketing requirements. The ability to substantiate claims for COOL with source-verification is the newest addition to the list of services AngusSource offers.” 

“The PVP status of AngusSource adds integrity to the program and has opened doors to export markets and branded beef programs,” explains Jim Shirley, American Angus Association vice president, industry relations. “Assisting producers with COOL is the next logical step,” he says. 

Age-verification through AngusSource qualifies cattle for export markets like Japan. In 2007, Certified Angus Beef LLC became the first branded-beef program to utilize AngusSource genetic-verification to qualify supply for the brand. Since then more than 14 other Angus-based programs have included AngusSource as part of their live animal requirements. 

“We’re glad that AngusSource has been able to serve commercial Angus producers in these ways,” Moyer-Snider says. “We will continue to work with USDA and plan for the future to ensure that we are able to help our customers meet emerging industry requirements.”

Source: American Angus Association