On March 26, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) responded to a petition filed by the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) and American Grassfed Association (AGA) regarding truth in labeling of imported meat.
The OCM and AGA petition, filed in June 2018, called for FSIS to ensure only domestic meat products can be labeled “Product of U.S.A.” The current policy allows imported meat to bear the “Product of U.S.A.” label if it simply passes through a USDA-inspected plant, allowing foreign profiteers to mislabel meat products and plunder the profits of U.S. farmers and ranchers at the expense of U.S. consumers.
In today’s response, FSIS indicated it has decided to initiate rulemaking to define the conditions under which the labeling of meat products would be permitted to bear voluntary statements that indicate that the product is of U.S. origin, such as “Product of USA” or “Made in the USA.”
AGA Executive Director Carrie Balkcom said, “The members and supporters of American Grassfed will aggressively participate in the comment period when this rulemaking process opens. We ask that the comment period be sooner rather than later to allow American farmers to continue to Make America Great, per the mantra of our executive branch and its appointees. For the USDA to continue to allow foreign products to be labeled ‘Product of U.S.A.’ continues to penalize American family farms and farmers.”
OCM Executive Director Angela Huffman said, “Far too often, global monopolies control our regulatory system and almost guarantee the biggest cheaters win. We are encouraged that FSIS agrees with our concerns that the current ‘Product of U.S.A.’ labeling system causes confusion for consumers and takes money out of the pockets of the farmer. We want to thank FSIS for opening up the rulemaking process to right this wrong. Farmers, ranchers and consumers deserve fair and transparent markets.”
In response to OCM and AGA, FSIS said:
“After careful consideration of your petition and the 2,593 public comments submitted to regulations.gov in response to your petition, FSIS has concluded that its current labeling policy, which permits meat and poultry products that were derived from animals that may have been born, raised and slaughtered in another country but processed in the United States to be labeled as “Product of USA,” may be causing confusion in the marketplace, particularly with respect to certain imported meat products.”
Following the repeal of mandatory Country of Origin Labeling in 2015, global meatpacking corporations began abusing the voluntary “Product of U.S.A.” label by misbranding meat and meat products from foreign countries as “Product of U.S.A.” after moving them through USDA-inspected processing plants. OCM and AGA continue to call on Congress and the Administration to reinstate mandatory Country of Origin Labeling.
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