USDA Rule Would Reform 'Made in USA' Meat Labeling
Monday, March 13, 2023
Ranching and agriculture groups say the federal government has taken a positive step in ensuring truth in labeling on meat from the United States, and they want Congress to go further.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed a rule to only allow voluntary "Product of U.S.A." labeling on meat, poultry and eggs derived from animals born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the country.
Current loopholes allow companies to import meat from other countries and stick this label on even if it is only processed in the U.S.
Jeanie Alderson, a southeastern Montana rancher and member of the Northern Plains Resource Council, said the loophole makes current labels misleading.
"Fraudulent labeling really betrays American ranchers and our rural communities and consumers by misrepresenting imported beef as American," Alderson asserted.
The USDA will take public comment for 60 days after the proposed rule change is published in the
The proposed rule pointed out other labels which might be acceptable. For example, it said "sliced and packaged in the United States using imported pork" would work, as long as it is accurate. Alderson appreciates the USDA's rule but argued members of Congress need to go further and restore mandatory country-of-origin labeling.
"A true free market depends on transparency," Alderson contended. "We need that information, and consumers can't make informed decisions without that. And so we need a free market, we need a fair market, and consumers deserve to know where their food's coming from."
Lawmakers, including Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., have reintroduced the American Beef Labeling Act, which includes mandatory country-of-origin labeling. This labeling requirement was repealed in 2015.
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