12.07.21

Rounds Submits Comment to Protect Integrity of Meat and Poultry Product Labeling Standards

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) submitted a comment to the proposed U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) rulemaking that could allow terms such as “meat”, “steak” or “poultry” to be used on foods that are artificially produced. Rounds argues allowing these terms to be used on lab grown food products is confusing and misleading to consumers, and puts ranchers and farmers’ reputations and livelihoods at risk. In his comment, Rounds urged the USDA to provide transparency and accuracy in its labeling of cell cultured foods.

In his comment to the USDA, Rounds writes, “Simply put, lab grown food products are not equivalent to meat and poultry products born, raised and harvested in the traditional manner. Pursuant to applicable federal laws, the FSIS should promulgate clear, accurate and fair regulations governing the labeling of these cell cultured foods so they cannot be confused with traditional meat and poultry products.”

Rounds continues, “As public servants, we can never forget our solemn responsibility to assist – not harm – those that we have been called to serve. We must remember that regulatory decisions can have far reaching consequences not only for America’s farm and ranch families but for consumers and the entire economy.”

Read Rounds’ comment to the USDA by clicking here.

Background:

Since he was elected to the Senate, Sen. Rounds has led numerous efforts to provide solutions to the problems faced by independent cattle producers and beef consumers. Most recently, he:

  • Introduced the USA Beef Act to limit the use of the “Product of USA” label only to beef products that are born, raised and slaughtered in the United States. Current USDA rules allow for foreign beef raised in other countries to receive this label. This bill outlaws this current practice and restores integrity to a currently misleading, but ultimately valuable tool for consumers and cattle producers.
  • Submitted a comment in opposition of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Center for Public Policy (NCBA) petition which called for the elimination of the “Product of USA” label and the creation of a new “Processed in USA” label.
  • Cosponsored a bill to restore mandatory country of origin labeling (MCOOL) for beef.
  • 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.

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