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· Country Of Origin Labeling Bill Passes South Dakota State Senate Committee
· Country of original labeling bill heading to Senate floor
Country Of Origin Labeling Bill Passes South Dakota State Senate Committee
Radio 570 WNAX (SD)
Feb 16, 2017
A measure backed by both the South Dakota Farmers Union and Stock Grower’s Association passed the State Senate Affairs Committee on Wednesday on a 5 to 3 vote. Farmers Union’s Legislative Director Matt Sibley says SB 135 calls for a statewide country of origin labeling requirement on beef.
He says if retailers don’t know where the product’s origin, they would need to label it unknown under the legislation. Sibley says he’s optimistic about full passage of the bill although it will take some work to get it through.
Sibley says at this time the legislation only addresses beef although there is a possibility pork could be added later...
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Country of original labeling bill heading to Senate floor
By Kylee Whitehill, Capital Journal (SD)
Feb 15, 2017
Senate Bill 135 was debated at the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon with proponents from the South Dakota Stockgrowers, Dakota Rural Action, and the South Dakota Farmers Union, and several cattle producers. Opponents of the bill included South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, South Dakota Retailers, and the South Dakota Farm Bureau.
Sen. Ryan Maher — R, Isabel, testified for the bill in place of the bill’s prime sponsor Sen. Lance Russell — R, Hot Springs, who was absent. Maher’s main argument was how the prices of his own beef cattle dropped after country of origin labeling was repealed at the end of 2015.
From his experience as a restaurant owner, Maher said he did not see a lot of effect from country of origin labeling repeal on the retail market.
“It may not have a national impact, but states may take it back to national level when they see what it’s done for local, small town South Dakota,” Maher said.
The final ruling for removal of mandatory country of origin labeling requirements for beef and pork muscle cuts, ground beef, and ground pork was in Feb. 2016. Under the labeling law, retailers like grocery stores and supermarkets had to inform consumers of the origin of certain foods. Though labeling was removed for certain cuts of beef and pork, labeling is still required for chicken, lamb, and goat cuts, fish and shellfish, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables and an assortment of nuts.
Silvia Christen, executive director of the South Dakota Stockgrowers, said grocery stores can still tell where meat is from thanks to the boxes the meat comes in.
Because of that, grocers should be obligated to educate the consumer on that information because the consumer wants to know.
”If it’s available information in the freezer at the back, it should be available on the shelf,” she said.
Bryan Hanson, owner of the Fort Pierre sale barn and Region III director of R-Calf, said the country of origin for meat is known until it’s cut and wrapped.
He said bringing origin labeling at a state level is a stepping stone back to the national level.
Lorin Pankratz, a South Dakota Pork Producers lobbyist, said “COOL failed miserably” and other livestock and meat producers not being present at the hearing showed it hadn’t been successful.
To contradict the showings of beef having best prices during COOL, Pankratz said someone could look at pork and other commodities and they had all had good times too.
Christen said saying COOL “failed miserably” is misinterpreting the statistics and added it didn’t damage beef prices.
Shawn Lyons, South Dakota Retailers Association executive director, said...