In this file:
· Michael Kelsey Asks the Question- is mCOOL a Silver Bullet?
· Leo McDonnell Questions Product of USA Labeling on Packages of Beef You Can Find in the Supermarket Meat Case
Michael Kelsey Asks the Question- is mCOOL a Silver Bullet?
Source: Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association
via Oklahoma Farm Report - 06 Nov 2019
Michael Kelsey Asks the Question- is mCOOL a Silver Bullet? The following is an Editorial entitled mCOOL- a Silver Bullet? as written by Michael Kelsey, the Executive Vice President of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association. It was published in the most recent issue of The Oklahoma Cowman, which is the official publication of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association.
"In the fantasy world, the only thing that can kill a werewolf is a silver bullet. While it is unclear if this reason is the origin of the phrase, we all know ‘silver bullet’ is used in reference to a clear and easy solution. Generally speaking though, there are few if any silver bullets. Within the beef industry, I have yet to find any!
"Lately however, I have heard from a few people the idea that mandatory Country of Origin Labeling is the solution to all that ails the cattle market. More than one person has called asking, “Does OCA support mandatory Country of Origin Labeling?” That is a good and fair question. In my 21 years of service to our industry in association work, I have not seen a more divisive issue than mCOOL. So in the spirit of unity, let’s define what we agree on before we discuss what might be disagreement.
"No matter the opinion held on mCOOL, every, and I mean every, cattle producer that I have spoken with about this issue is very proud of their beef and their involvement in the United States beef industry. We all take great pride in producing the highest quality, best tasting, most nutritious animal protein product available on the market. We love our industry and we love that can enjoy it with our families while having a close Providential connection to the land and animals which we count as blessings.
"OCA membership based policy has long supported voluntary labeling programs that producers can participate in by choice to help add value to their cattle. Additionally, OCA policy has long been opposed to mandatory marketing programs. Mandated programs force producers into one-size-fits-all plans that almost always cost more than any value (if any exists) is recognized. Multiple peer reviewed and government sanctioned research projects have shown just this with mCOOL - more costs for producers (and consumers in some cases) with no recognized payback or value. I have not seen one peer reviewed research study that shows mCOOL cost producers nothing (or even very little) and paid increased dividends. On the other hand, voluntary marketing programs that highlight origin, quality or some other character value have been shown to provide additional revenue even though costs may increase. For example, if a producer wants to pursue a ‘natural’ beef program, there is increased costs associated with that pursuit but the revenue received can exceed those elevated inputs.
"Further, the idea of giving government some of the marketing reigns to our product is disturbing. If we want government to label country of origin, how long will it be before government will want to label beef for other characteristics? To give you an example, what about ‘humane handling’? I am troubled by this label on a voluntary basis (who defines what ‘humane handling’ means?). The idea of it being mandated by government is horrible! Another example could be management related. With all the turmoil regarding antimicrobials, are we heading toward a push for a label that is ‘natural’, meaning no antibiotic use? You might say, “Well government would never do that.” There are certainly some folks in the animal rights and health communities that would like to see those labels. How much money to lobby do they have compared to the beef industry? A fractured beef industry to be precise (more on that in a moment).
"With proof that volunteer programs work and no research to show mandated programs do, OCA membership has stayed away from government mandated marketing policies like mCOOL. Instead, OCA has promoted opportunities for producers to voluntarily pursue added value through marketing programs of their choice. Further, OCA formed a task force this past year to pursue an Oklahoma Beef Label. The task force of cattle men and women has met multiple times and is working toward a label that will recognize the quality of Oklahoma beef for those producers that want to participate.
Leo McDonnell Questions Product of USA Labeling on Packages of Beef You Can Find in the Supermarket Meat Case
Oklahoma Farm Report
06 Nov 2019
If it says U.S. Beef on the Package, is it really U.S. Beef? Montana Rancher, Leo McDonnell of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association believes “Basically, if you are going to use the label U.S. BEEF, it better be U.S. BEEF, which means born, raised, and slaughtered here in the U.S.” McDonnell was talking with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays this past Sunday at the American Angus Association Convention in Reno.
McDonnell contends that today’s Beef labeling rules are misleading. The goal in truth and labeling is to give consumers more accurate information about what we see on the grocery store shelf, and to showcase how U.S. beef really is the best in the world. He adds that many people promote Made in America Products, but they aren't actually made in America, so the goal is to make sure that if people are using that nomenclature, (U.S. Beef, or Made in America) it has to be a product that came from the U.S. Cattle herd.
McDonnel says, “Since the repealing of COOL, (Country of Origin Labeling) they went back to the old guidelines, which allows you to call anything U.S. beef that was slaughtered in the U.S., or if its been imported beef it could have been cut up, or ground up and packaged here they can still call it U.S. Beef.”
The beef labeling rules allow beef and beef products from cattle born, raised and slaughtered outside of the U.S. to be labeled as U.S. beef. McDonnel says “It’s wrong. And it compromises us as an industry not to be straight with our consumes, but it compromises U.S. producers who are trying to be more transparent with their consumers and build their trust”
This is important to U.S. Cattlemen because they are producing some of the highest quality beef in the world, and consumers deserve to know where their next meal is coming from. McDonnel states, “If you’re going to call it U.S. product, it better be U.S. product. That Simple”
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