USA Beef Act Restores Integrity of “Product of USA” Label

by Colter Brown
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A new bill aims to restore the integrity of the “Product of USA’ label for beef. This week, South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds, along with several collegues from western states introduced the bipartisan USA Beef Act.

The bill limits the use of the “Product of USA” label only to beef products that are born, raised and slaughtered in the United States. Current United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) rules allow for foreign beef raised in other countries to receive this label. This bill outlaws this current practice and restores integrity to a currently misleading, but ultimately valuable tool for consumers and cattle producers.

“It’s pretty simple – only beef born, raised and slaughtered in the United States should receive the ‘Product of USA’ label,” said Rounds. “As I continue to work with my colleagues on re-establishing mandatory country of origin labeling, we must fix the current labels to protect consumers and producers. For far too long, South Dakota producers have suffered as their high-quality, American-raised beef has lost value as it’s mixed with foreign beef, raised and processed under different standards. This is wrong. Consumers deserve to know where their beef comes from and accurate, transparent labeling supports American farmers and ranchers. It’s long past time we fix this once and for all.”

This bill is cosponsored by Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.). Representative Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) is introducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“South Dakota cattle ranchers work hard to produce some of the highest quality beef in the world, and they deserve to proudly showcase their products with accurate labeling,” said Thune. “I’m proud of this straightforward legislation that will ensure that consumers know they are getting their beef from cattle that were born right here in the U.S.A.”

“Montana ranchers produce the best beef in the world,” Daines said. “Montana ranchers deserve to receive a fair price for their beef, and Montana families at the store deserve to know the quality of what they are buying. More accurate labeling is a win for all Montanans.”

This legislation is endorsed by US Cattlemen’s Association, R-CALF, South Dakota Farmers Union and the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association.

“Under this bill only beef that is born, raised, slaughtered in the USA could receive a label proclaiming it is a product of the USA.” Said SDSGA executive Director James Halverson. “We believe this is common sense legislation that is badly needed. Currently consumers are being misled by this label which has no legal definition. We’d like to thank our Senators for their continued efforts on this issue and hope the companion legislation in the House will receive similar support.”

USDA announced in July a full-scale review of the Product of USA label. In conjunction with USDA’s announcement, the Federal Trade Commission finalized a rule tightening the use of the “Made in the USA” label. The rule does not require specific actions be taken regarding beef labeling.

 

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SD Stockgrowers/Sen. Steve Daines/Sen. Mike Rounds

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