Quick reminder that the public comment deadline for the voluntary Country of Origin labeling policy for inspected meat and egg products is June 10th! Below we’ve summarized the proposed rule change and written a suggested comment to post!
Comment by June 10th to help us change the current policy. As it stands now, the policy allows companies (ie multinational meat conglomerates with international supply chains) to import cheaper meat from other countries, minimally reprocess and repackage it in the USA (ie. grind trimmings, cut steaks from primals, etc), and label it as “Product of the USA”. The result is artificially cheap meat that the consumer believes, logically, was raised and harvested in the USA. The reality is that the meat is from an animal that never set foot on US soil, and was not even harvested or even processed in this country.
There are several complex implications of this rule, including
1) Devastating loss of market share in the “Grass Fed” and “USDA Organic” markets for domestic producers
2) Artificially cheap grass fed beef prices at the grocery store
3) Murky international supply chains with little to no transparency or accountability and a wide range of labor and environmental standards
4) Further centralization of the meat industry, even in the niche and "special claims" markets that domestic producers fought so hard to create
But, most simply, the current policy is a blatantly and infuriatingly misleading! It only benefits the very same massive meat conglomerates who consumers attempt to avoid by buying grass fed! They are also the only people who lobbied for this rule and currently defend it, because they are the only beneficiaries. Let's all chip in to score this little victory for US farmers and the American consumer!
Please click here to leave your comment. Support US farmers, or, at the very least, support transparency in our food labeling policies.
As an American consumer, I feel that the beef country of origin labeling policy, as it stands now, is extremely misleading to consumers and detrimental to US producers who raise and market beef domestically. I believe this Proposed Rule change must be enacted so that meat products labeled “Product of the USA” must be born, raised, harvested, and processed in the USA.
Domestic grass fed beef producers would love to require that all meat products bear a country of origin claim. If the above rule change passes (and we really hope it does!), companies could still just opt out of putting a country of origin label on their products. This would be less misleading to customers, but still not give them access to information on where their meat comes from.
In any case, thats a hell of a battle to wage against some very big guns, but it is imperative that we keep talking about it and working towards it. In the meantime, let's focus on this first step by commenting at the link above.
Also, now when you see a pack of USDA organic grass fed ground beef at the super market, and it bears a label proudly stating "Product of the USA", you know better!
Shop local, shop small, keep our farmers and food producers on our farms and in our rural communities. The way you buy your food affects all of this, every day.
Thank you for reading!