Farmers and ranchers have welcomed the USDA’s proposed rule change to limit the voluntary “Product of U.S.A.” label exclusively to meat, poultry, and egg products derived from animals born, raised, slaughtered, and processed in the United States. Farm Action and American Grassfed Association, which filed a joint petition in 2018, see this as a significant move towards closing a loophole that allowed imported meat to bear the “Product of U.S.A.” label.
The current policy enables multinational corporations to import meat, repackage it, and pass it off as a higher-quality product from U.S. farmers and ranchers. Joe Maxwell, president and co-founder of Farm Action, stated that truthful labels are vital for consumer protection and fair competition. Carrie Balkcom, executive director of American Grassfed Association, expressed satisfaction with the USDA’s action, as it helps American grassfed farmers avoid being undercut by mislabeled meat.
However, the restoration of Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (MCOOL) for beef and pork is still needed for all meat product labels to disclose their origin. Farm Action will continue its Truth in Labeling campaign, working with American Grassfed Association and other advocates to ensure transparency and support for American farmers and ranchers.
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