Rounds to Introduce USA Beef Act, Restoring Integrity to “Product of USA” Label
Bill outlaws foreign beef from receiving “Product of USA” label, which is allowed under current USDA rules
WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and a bipartisan group of his colleagues announced the introduction of the USA Beef Act. This Rounds-led bill limits the use of the “Product of USA” label only to beef products that are born, raised and slaughtered in the United States. Current United States Department of Agriculture (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.
“It’s pretty simple – only beef born, raised and slaughtered in the United States should receive the ‘Product of USA’ label,” said Rounds. “As I continue to work with my colleagues on re-establishing mandatory country of origin labeling, we must fix the current labels to protect consumers and producers. For far too long, South Dakota producers have suffered as their high-quality, American-raised beef has lost value as it’s mixed with foreign beef, raised and processed under different standards. This is wrong. Consumers deserve to know where their beef comes from and accurate, transparent labeling supports American farmers and ranchers. It’s long past time we fix this once and for all.”
“South Dakota cattle ranchers work hard to produce some of the highest quality beef in the world, and they deserve to proudly showcase their products with accurate labeling,” said Thune. “I’m proud of this straightforward legislation that will ensure that consumers know they are getting their beef from cattle that were born right here in the U.S.A.”
This legislation is endorsed by US Cattlemen’s Association, R-CALF, South Dakota Farmers Union and the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association.
This bill is cosponsored by Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.). Representative Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) is introducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
At the urging of Senator Rounds and hundreds of ranchers in South Dakota and around the country, USDA announced in July a full-scale review of the Product of USA label. In conjunction with USDA’s announcement, the Federal Trade Commission finalized a rule tightening the use of the “Made in the USA” label. The rule does not require specific actions be taken regarding beef labeling.
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 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.
- 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.