On Tuesday the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) issued a press release reaffirming its policy supporting voluntary country-of-origin labeling (COOL).
“Specifically, NCBA is seeking solutions to the labeling requirements and verification procedures in place for beef products labeled as ‘Product of the U.S.A,’ ‘Made in the U.S.A.,’ or similar origin claims, which will resolve the concerns of beef producers, work at the speed of commerce, meet America's trade obligations and prevent confusion among consumers,” the statement said.
As a result of the NCBA statement, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association issued a statement calling for “accurate meat labels.”
“In October, the United States Cattlemen's Association (USCA) submitted a petition for rulemaking to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service requesting the use of certain labeling claims, such as ‘Product of USA,’ ‘Made in USA,’ and ‘USA Beef,’ to be used exclusively for meat products derived from cattle born, raised, and slaughtered in the United States. Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds recently introduced a bill in Congress that would aim to accomplish the same thing,” the statement said.
USCA said “USDA is accepting comments on our petition until December 24.”
Further, USCA says it “maintains a solid record of advancing solutions that would provide a pathway forward for truthful, transparent labeling on U.S. beef products. We are committed to working with any industry stakeholders who sincerely wish to increase truth in labeling at the meat counter.
“In 2015, USCA and key Members of the U.S. Senate championed a measure that would have ensured there was no confusion as to the origin of beef products in the retail marketplace. This bill would have kept the program at USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service, and prevent the misuse of the label that we are seeing today. Both the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and RCALF-USA opposed that solution, the rule was entirely repealed, and the program went to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, which is where our petition currently resides.”
USCA said, “Warm tidings of cheer are nice during the holiday season, but the problems and distortions cattle producers endure in the cattle marketplace are real. Progress and solutions need to advance, and USCA won't rest until transparency and true price discovery is a reality for every cattle producer across the U.S.”