Rounds Statement on USDA Review of “Product of the U.S.A.” Label
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) released the following statement today after the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a full-scale review of the “Product of the U.S.A.” label:
“For years, we’ve called on the USDA to take action to stop foreign beef from receiving the ‘Product of the U.S.A.’ label,” said Rounds. “American consumers are being misled when the ‘Product of the U.S.A. label is allowed to be applied to foreign beef. American ranchers are faced with an unfair disadvantage in the marketplace, as lower quality foreign beef can falsely bear the “Product of the U.S.A.” label. This undermines the high-quality of U.S.A. raised beef and needs to be stopped. Only products born, raised and slaughtered in the United States should receive the ‘Product of the U.S.A.’ label.”
“Consumers deserve to know the true source of their food. Today’s news is a step in the right direction. It’s long past time to fix this label in order to restore transparency and fairness to the market.”
The Federal Trade Commission finalized a rule tightening the use of the “Made in the U.S.A” label. The rule does not require specific actions be taken regarding beef labeling. However, in conjunction with this rule, USDA announced a review of the “Product of the U.S.A.” label.
Senator Rounds introduced legislation which would outlaw foreign beef from being labeled as a “Product of the U.S.A.” and make certain that label only goes on beef and beef products exclusively derived from animals born, raised and slaughtered here in the United States.
Additionally, since he was elected to the Senate, Sen. Rounds has worked to provide solutions to the problems faced by independent cattle producers and beef consumers. Most recently, he:
- Introduced the Meat Packing Special Investigator Act with Sens. Tester and Grassley to give the U.S. Department of Agriculture the tools to investigate anticompetitive practices in the cattle market.
- Led a group of 26 colleagues with Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) in calling on the attorney general to investigate the meatpacking industry to determine if antitrust violations exist.
- Addressed cattle producers during a virtual town hall focused on meatpacker concentration in the cattle industry.
- Reintroduced legislation with Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) to allow meat and poultry products inspected by state Meat and Poultry Inspection (MPI) programs to be sold across state lines.
- Introduced bipartisan legislation to foster more competitive cattle markets by requiring that a minimum of 50 percent of a meatpacker’s weekly volume of cattle purchases take place on the open or spot market.