In general, retailers must maintain records or other documentary evidence that permits
verification of origin claims made at retail. These records may be maintained in any
location and, unless specified otherwise, must be maintained for a period of 1 year from
the date the declaration was made at retail. Upon request, these records must be provided
to any duly authorized representatives of USDA within 5 business days of the request.

For covered commodities sold in pre-labeled consumer-ready packages, the record must
identify the covered commodity and the retail supplier. For products that are pre-labeled
with the origin information on the shipping container (or other type of outer container),
the label itself is sufficient evidence on which the retailer may rely to establish the
product’s origin at the point of sale. In this case, retailers must still maintain a record
identifying the covered commodity and the retail supplier. In addition, to allow
substantiation of the origin claim, the retailer must either maintain the pre-labeled
shipping container at the retail store for as long as the product is on hand, or ensure the
origin information is included in the record identifying the covered commodity and the
retail supplier.

For products that are not pre-labeled, the retailer must maintain records
that identify the covered commodity, the retail supplier, and the origin information.
Retail suppliers must maintain records to establish and identify the immediate previous
source (if applicable) and immediate subsequent recipient of a covered commodity for a
period of 1 year from the date of the transaction. Upon request, these records must be
provided to any duly authorized representatives of USDA within 5 business days of the
request and may be maintained in any location.

The supplier of a covered commodity that is responsible for initiating a country of origin
declaration, which in the case of beef, lamb, pork, chicken, and goat is the slaughter
facility, must possess or have legal access to records that are necessary to substantiate
that claim. In the case of beef, lamb, chicken, goat, and pork, a producer affidavit shall
be considered acceptable evidence on which the slaughter facility may rely to initiate the
origin claim, provided it is made by someone having first-hand knowledge of the origin
of the animal(s) and identifies the animal(s) unique to the transaction.

For an imported covered commodity, the importer of record as determined by Customs
and Border Protection, must ensure that records: provide clear product tracking from the
United States port of entry to the immediate subsequent recipient and accurately reflect
the country(ies) of origin of the item as identified in relevant CBP entry documents and
information systems; and maintain such records for a period of 1 year from the date of
the transaction.

Resources:

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service
Country of Origin Labeling: Legislative History