South Dakota Senators Mike Rounds and John Thune today introduced a bill to keep beef born, raised and slaughtered in foreign countries from receiving a “Product of the U.S.A.” label. The U.S. Beef Integrity Act would make certain that the “Product of the U.S.A.” label only goes to beef and beef products exclusively derived from one or more animals born, raised and slaughtered in the United States.

Currently, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) does not require that beef be born, raised and slaughtered in the U.S. in order to carry a “Product of the U.S.A.” label. This loophole allows beef from livestock born and raised in foreign countries to be labeled “Product of the U.S.A.” as long as the beef undergoes additional processing at a processing plant in the U.S.

Additionally, Thune and Rounds wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to offer support for administrative changes to the FSIS beef labeling requirements.

“Our cattle producers offer some of the highest-quality beef in the world,” said Rounds. “Consumers deserve to know where their food is coming from. When South Dakota families purchase beef labeled ‘Product of the U.S.A.,’ they should know with certainty that it is coming from one of our top-quality producers. Today’s beef labeling rules are misleading and allow beef and beef products from cattle born, raised and slaughtered outside of the U.S. to be labeled as U.S. beef. This must be fixed for both consumers and our hardworking producers.”

The South Dakota Stockgrowers thanked the Senators for introducing the bill. “This legislation ensures honesty in beef labeling and that’s something all ranchers, consumers, and organizations should be supportive of,” said South Dakota Stockgrowers Executive Director James Halverson. “Our goal is to ensure that products from the U.S.A. are clearly labeled, it’s just that simple.”

Stockgrowers Trade Committee Chairman Ty Littau adds, “This legislation will go a long way to protect the integrity of US beef in markets both foreign and domestic. I applaud the continued leadership of our congressional delegation in this matter. This is a bold step in the right direction.”

The United States Cattlemen Association applauded the bill as well with USCA Truth in Labeling Committee Chairman Dannie Beer saying, “”Despite the repeal of mandatory country-of-origin labeling in 2015, packers and retailers are still labeling beef products with origin claims. USCA finds this practice abhorrent, as it rides on the coattails of the high-quality product U.S. ranchers produce. USCA is working several fronts on Truth in Labeling – addressing both non-labeled and improperly labeled beef and alternative protein products. Our goal is to immediately close this loophole which allows for imported product to be labeled as U.S. beef, and then continue pushing for the reestablishment of a country-of-origin labeling program.”

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association responded a bit more cautiously with Ethan Lane, Vice President of Government Affairs for NCBA saying, ““NCBA understands that the practices alleged in the letter from Senator Rounds and Senator Thune are a concern to cattle producers and we share a commitment to clear and truthful labeling. In August, in response to a proposal brought forward by our grassroots members, NCBA formed a working group to examine the prevalence of the alleged mislabeling practices. We are in the process of gathering information related to current industry labeling practices so we can fully understand the scope of the issue as we identify solutions that work for the industry.”

“In general, NCBA members are opposed to requesting additional government regulation on our industry,” Lane says. “Until we understand the scope of labeling practices currently being utilized, any rush to regulate is an irresponsible step that can create unnecessary and burdensome government mandates. NCBA is actively seeking information on beef labeling practices.”

“The creation of government policy or regulation is a complex process that requires a thorough understanding of the problem and the involvement of many stakeholders. As our industry is fully aware, any rush toward government regulation can create unintended consequences that take years to unwind.”

 

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Senator Mike Rounds/South Dakota Stockgrowers/USCA/NCBA

24 thoughts on “Bill Introduced to Keep Foreign Beef from Receiving “Product of the U.S.A.” Label

    • Randy, I called both senators Barrasso and Enzi’s office to get their positions and let them know how I feel about it. I urge you and many others to do the same! A nice lady from Enzi’s DC office I talked too was actually a recent UW graduate with an Ag business degree!

  1. Wyoming needs to do this also for the rancher and the farmer. We all put our hard work, pride and love into our operations!!

  2. I know where my canned pineapple comes from.
    I know where my Avocados come from.
    Much of our products show Country Of Origin.
    Beef needs this same treatment!

  3. Americans have a right to know the source of our food! Remember the days when China’s baby formula was found to be tainted, and poisonous fillers dumped into pet food killed our pets? U.S. consumers began rejecting items marked "Made in China", affecting China’s anticipated revenues. China claimed the food labeling requirements unfairly discriminated against their products and asked to have the country-of-origin label removed from packaging. How can we possibly trust that foreign beef and foodstuffs are free of contamination such as the BSE/CJD organism that cannot be killed by cooking? This is one of many precedents that have been set over the years. Labeling on imports should be mandatory FOREVER to protect human and animal health.

  4. Not only should it be beef but all meat including pork and lamb. Point of origin should be included it should be born raised, slaughter and processed in United States.

  5. It is done for all other ag products. Only Pork and Beef are expempt as they are HUGE ticket items and are now mostly owned by foreign meatpackers who are profiting HUGE amounts of money by using THEIR cheap, substandard beef and importing it into the USA. They are defrauding the USA consumer and the USDA and NCBA are behind them as they are making LOTS of money in lobbying funds and support global corporate agriculture over USA products and Jobs as President Trump had intended. Secty Perdue is a globalist.

  6. I support and thank the individuals sponsoring this action. I would like to think that that NCBA had already studied this trickery in the industry they are supposed to represent, therefore it would no be a rush of judgment. Please move forward while you have a industry to represent. Forever grateful for leadership amd statesmanship.

  7. Some crooked politician helped run this practice through and collected some serious cash. He?she? should be doing time in bubbas cell.

  8. I only want to eat beef from the United States I do not want to eat from other country’s. I want to know why this crisis is going on when we have food right here at home that’s getting destroyed I personally will not eat any foreign product.

  9. The USA needs to be self sustainable this importanting of beef pork chicken vegetables fruits needs to stop we can grow them here where it is safer and promotes local workers USA wake up

  10. I want AMERICAN MADE PRODUCTS ONLY ID AT ALL POSSIBLE,if there is a petition to sign to support made in the USA I want to sign it please!

  11. If most Americans knew the meat they purchase from Kroger, Walmart, and other grocery stores was of foreign origin, they would opt for USA produced only.

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