On October 23, 2019, the U.S. Cattlemen Association (USCA) petitioned USDA regarding Made in USA and Product of USA and similar claims on beef.
USCA explains that it is concerned that voluntary “Made in USA” labeling for beef products, without a clear definition of what constitutes “Made in USA” or “Product of USA” or other such similar designations, will lead to consumer confusion if meat from animals that are not born, raised and harvested in the United States is marked with this type of designation. Therefore, USCA contends that voluntary labels indicating “Made in USA,” or similar claims should be limited to beef from cattle born, raised, and harvested in the United States.
USCA asks that USDA revise its policy and require that any beef product labeled as “Made in the USA,” “Product of the USA,” “USA beef,” or otherwise indicated to be U.S. beef, come from cattle that have been born, raised, and harvested in the United States.
USCA supported the mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) requirements for livestock. The COOL law and implementing regulation mandated that meat be labeled with a statement as to where the animals were born, raised, and harvested. The WTO ruled against the mandatory COOL requirements and the regulations and the law mandating COOL for beef and pork were repealed. The current Petition does not request that USDA reinstate mandatory COOL. Instead, it requests that USDA set a standard for voluntary “Made in the USA” and similar claims.
As readers of this blog know, last year, the Organization for Competitive Markets & American Grassfed Association (OCM) petitioned USDA over the same claim. The USCA Petition does not refer to the 2018 OCM petition, nor does it address why the standard should be USCA’s proposed standard (which specifically requires that the animals are born and raised as well as “harvested” in this country) rather than the standard proposed by OCM, which does not require that animals are born in the United States.
FSIS opened a docket on regulations.gov where comments can be submitted.