The U.S. Department of Agriculture has extended the comment period for country-of-origin labeling (COOL) to Feb. 21, 2003.

Trade groups requested the extension to provide more time to submit comments.

COOL calls for a two-year voluntary program followed by a mandatory labeling program for meat and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Comments should be sent to Country of Origin Labeling Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA STOP 0249, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250-0249; faxed to (202) 720-3499 or sent by e-mail to cool@usda.gov.