The Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska applaud Sen. Jon Tester’s Senate resolution, introduced on Oct. 30, calling on the rest of Congress to “reinstate County-of-Origin labeling for pork and beef to allow consumers to make an informed and free choice about where their food comes from.”
Also, South Dakota Sens. Mike Rounds and John Thune recently introduced the U.S. Beef Integrity Act, which would ensure that no beef that was born, raised or slaughtered in foreign countries could be labeled as a product of the U.S.A.
Currently, country of origin label regulations are required for perishable fruits and vegetables, chicken, lamb, goat, fish and most nuts, but not beef or pork.
Country of origin labels require retailers to let customers know where the commodities originated, giving shoppers more information and allowing producers to compete in a transparent marketplace.
ICON thanks Sens. Tester, Thune and Rounds for their efforts, and urges Nebraska Sens. Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse to insist on honest, country-of-origin labels on beef and pork. Ideally, country of origin labels should be part of the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.
Beef and pork from other countries do not need to be labeled by origin and if they are processed or re-packaged in the U.S., the packages are stamped with a USDA symbol, falsely indicating it is a product of the United States.
Meat processors then offer cheaper-sourced beef to consumers as though it were produced by U.S. farmers and ranchers.
It’s a profitable deal for processors and retailers, but a sour deal for Nebraska cattle producers.
Tester is right in saying, “Our farmers and ranchers produce the best agricultural products in the world. Consumers want to buy those American-made products, and country-of-origin-labeling lets producers show their product was raised right here in the U.S., and ensures folks can make informed choices about the food they buy.”