WASHINGTON, DC — A pair of Republican lawmakers from South Dakota are pushing to ensure only American beef is labeled as a “Product of the U.S.A.”
Senators Mike Rounds and John Thune wrote to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, in support of making sure cattle born, raised, or slaughtered in another country cannot be labeled as American beef.
The senators said USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) only requires beef processed in a USDA-inspected plant is labeled “Product of the U.S.A.”
“Our farmers and ranchers work hard to deliver the highest-quality and safest food products in the world. Americans recognize this, and they want to know where their food is coming from. Unfortunately, without clear parameters, the current “Product of the U.S.A.” label can be misleading to consumers and can result in imported beef being labeled as though it is of U.S. origin,” Thune and Rounds wrote.
Rounds has also introduced a bill called the U.S. Beef Integrity Act. He said it would close the “loophole” that allows beef from livestock born and raised outside the United States to be labeled in what he thinks is a misleading way.
“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,” Rounds said in a statement.
Danni Beer of the United States Cattlemen’s Association supports the legislation.
She said, “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.”