The Agriculture Department (USDA) has released the proposed rule for mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL). Meat and fish products and perishable farm commodities must be labeled at retail.

Pork products are exempt if derived from an animal that was born, raised and slaughtered in the U.S.

Comments on the rule must be sent by Dec. 29 to or mailed to Country-of-Origin Labeling Program, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, 1400 Independence Ave., SW Stop 0249, Washington, DC 20250-0249.

USDA also released an official forecast that COOL will cost $3.9 billion a year. That forecast reinforces that there is no evidence of benefit to pork producers, meat packers, retailers or consumers, says National Pork Producers Council President Jon Caspers.