That’s not cool: Farm groups petition USDA on country of origin labeling

By on August 13, 2018 with 9 Comments

It’s no secret, and it’s no surprise. Americans want to know what they’re eating. A 2016 Consumer Reports survey found that a majority of American consumers want labels on the meat, poultry, fish, and produce they buy to reflect country of origin (87 percent) and state of origin (74 percent). But these Americans aren’t getting what they want. And animal welfare is being compromised as a consequence.

In 2015, in a move that crippled the fortunes of American producers, including many of our family farmer allies, Congress repealed Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for beef and pork products. As a result, meat in the United States is now being sold without country-of-origin disclosure. Repeal was a big gift to multinational companies, which can shop for or produce cheap meat elsewhere in the world, ship it to the United States, and sell it for a premium to unsuspecting consumers.

Today, according to estimates, nearly 75 percent of grassfed beef sold on U.S. grocery store shelves comes from other countries. Under this production regime, animals can be raised in foreign countries under substandard and cruel conditions, the resulting meat being repackaged in the U.S. and sold to the very consumers who have signaled their disapproval of animal cruelty and suffering and their preference for labeling regulations.

The Organization for Competitive Markets and the American Grassfed Association recently filed a petition calling for a change in policy to guarantee that only U.S. domestic meat products can be labeled “Product of U.S.A.” The petition is a call for clarity and an affirmation that American consumers have a right to know that the meat they’re buying was raised by American producers on American soil.

According to Carrie Balkcom, executive director of American Grassfed Association, “This labeling loophole intentionally conceals the transparency consumers desire.”

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is calling for public comments on this issue, here, until August 17, 2018.

The HSUS has long supported transparency in labeling when it comes to animal agriculture and associated products, and believes that Americans care about the origins of their food. If a labeling scheme grants foreign countries and interests unfair marketing opportunities at the expense of American farmers and ranchers, animals, and consumers, USDA officials ought to hear about it. And if it strengthens the case for improved treatment of animals in the food supply, so much the better.

Categories
Farm Animals, Humane Economy

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9 Comments

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  1. Michele Obrien says:

    I definitely made comments and hope others do as well. Frankly, I don’t eat meat but for those in this country who do, they have a right to know where it is coming from. Honestly??? I wouldn’t want to see anyone eat any animal products from China.

  2. Jessie says:

    Maybe an approach to powers that be could start with this labeling would help American businesses by ensuring consumers know how to buy American meat. Take it from a improve business/sales not from a consumer concern. Present administration is more like a Rockefeller then a Nadar ( Ralph ) ….. Also mentioning and stressing this repeal was done under previous administration could not hurt.

  3. Jean gunn says:

    I am in complete support of country of origin labeling for all foods!!!!

  4. mrs d says:

    Meat is UNHEALTHY, its 2018 time everyone went vegan !?

  5. J. Fredericksen says:

    If you have nothing to hide, then hide nothing. Label it it!!

  6. Leah Perlman says:

    Not labeling where the meat comes from is lying to the consumer. Most Americans would not be buying if they knew it wasn’t from the U.S. If I still ate meat I would be disgusted to find this out.

  7. J. Arrington says:

    I sure do want to know the country of origin, especially in the grocery stores. You are going to cause us , if we are not already, to purchase fresh meat from our local farms that provide butcher services. Expensive, but it was farm RAISED AND FED IN THE USA.

  8. Blue Mt. Mom says:

    And this is why I only buy from my local growers of beef, pork, and chicken.

  9. ruth Kaplan says:

    Dishonesty by the government as to national origin of meat would be consumer fraud by the government. DISGUSTING

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