USDA Label Fraud – Havre Daily News

The US Department of Agriculture has announced that it will conduct a survey to find out how much consumers are willing to pay to get the USDA to stop lying. The “Product of USA” label is a consumer fraud, and the USDA is under pressure from Congress and the President to stop the lie. In response, and apparently in an effort to save time, the USDA is offering to do a survey instead. The USDA will ask three questions:

1. Do consumers notice the “Product of USA” labeling claim?

2 Do consumers understand the current definition of “Product of USA” and other “USDA” labeling (such as “USDA Choice”) with respect to country of origin?

3. How much are consumers willing to pay for meat products bearing the “Product of USA” labeling claim for the current definition and potential revised definitions (for example, if the meat came from a animal born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States)?

Fraud is fraud! How else can one interpret a label on imported beef that, once it has been repackaged in this country, qualifies it to be marketed as a product of the United States? Clearly, consumers pay more for beef because they assume the label means what it says. Why on earth would consumers be willing to pay more not to be lied to?

The simple and ethical thing for the USDA is to prohibit the use of the label unless it is in fact a product of the United States. If a beef importer wants to claim that the meat in question was repackaged in the United States, well, they can say so. Nothing stops them. But to repackage and then claim that makes it a “Product of the United States” is fraud.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, in its self-proclaimed role as protector of the global meat cartel, wants the USDA to allow a label that reads “Produced in the USA” instead. This language is equally fraudulent. There is no need for a dishonest investigation or change in wording. The best thing for the USDA to do is eliminate the label altogether because US beef producers and US beef consumers don’t need imported beef disguised as US product.

However, there is a bill in the Senate that will restore truthful country of origin labeling. “The American Beef Labeling Act” currently gathers co-sponsors. Rocky Mountain area sponsors include Senators Rounds and Thune from South Dakota, Senators Barroso and Lummis from Wyoming, Senator Hoeven from North Dakota and Senator Tester from Montana. You will notice that Senator Cramer from North Dakota and Senator Daines from Montana are conspicuously absent.

Call them — Daines at 406-453-0148 or Cramer at 701-699-7020 — and tell them they must sponsor the American Beef Labeling Act. If they answer that they already sponsor the “USA Beef Act”, thank them, but clarify that the “USA Beef Act” only deals with “Product of USA” fraud, but the “American Beef Labeling Act” restores the true country of origin. labeling. Tell them that a label that proudly proclaims that this beef is born, raised and processed in the United States is the only acceptable label.


Gilles Stockton is president of the Montana Cattlemen’s Association

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