South Dakota, Montana Senators reignite beef labeling discussions

What constitutes a “Product of the United States?” Should COOL be reinstatated?


Amanda Radke, Opinion, BEEF Magazine 

Nov 01, 2019


Last week, U.S. Senators Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced the U.S. Beef Integrity Act, which would ensure that no beef that was born, raised or slaughtered in foreign countries could be labeled as a “Product of the U.S.A.”


If passed, the label would only apply to beef and beef products exclusively derived from one or more animals born, raised and slaughtered in the United States.


According to a press release from Senator Rounds’ office, “Currently, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) does not require that beef be born, raised and slaughtered in the U.S. in order to carry a ‘Product of the U.S.A.’ label. This loophole allows beef from livestock born and raised in foreign countries to be labeled ‘Product of the U.S.A.’ as long as the beef undergoes additional processing at a processing plant in the U.S.”


In an official statement, Senator Rounds said, “Our cattle producers offer some of the highest-quality beef in the world. Consumers deserve to know where their food is coming from. When South Dakota families purchase beef labeled ‘Product of the U.S.A.,’ they should know with certainty that it is coming from one of our top-quality producers. Today’s beef labeling rules are misleading and allow beef and beef products from cattle born, raised and slaughtered outside of the U.S. to be labeled as U.S. beef. This must be fixed for both consumers and our hardworking producers.”


Senator Thune added, “For South Dakota ranchers, ‘Product of the U.S.A’ is far more than a label. It’s a sense of pride, and it represents a way of life. This legislation is straightforward and common sense, two qualities that are often lacking in Washington and are made up for by South Dakotans and their hardworking spirit. It’s with our ranchers and agriculture community in mind that I’m proud to support this bill to give consumers more accurate information about what’s on the grocery store shelf and help showcase America’s beef products – the best in the world – as clearly and as proudly as possible.”


Senators Round and Thune also submitted this letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.


They wrote:


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