FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 1, 2021
Contact: Hannah Packman, 202.554.1600
WASHINGTON – To complement the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) efforts to strengthen the enforcement of “Made in the USA” standard, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that it would conduct a “top-to-bottom review” of the voluntary “Product of the USA” label.
National Farmers Union (NFU) has long been concerned about the label, which has been legally been applied to beef and pork that was born, raised, and slaughtered in another country but processed in the United States. Most recently, the organization urged FTC and USDA to strengthen voluntary U.S. origin claims on labels and penalize those who incorrectly label products. In a statement, NFU President Rob Larew said he was encouraged by today’s announcement and urged USDA to limit “Product of the USA” labels strictly to meat products that have never spent time outside the country.
“American consumers deserve to know where their meat comes from. Whether they want to keep their food dollar in their community, limit their food miles, or avoid unsustainable or unethical practices, there are many reasons why someone would want to know what country their meat was raised in. But as things stand, there’s no way to determine the origin of beef and pork since the wildly deceptive ‘Product of the USA’ label can appear on meat that spent its entire life in another country.
“This isn’t just a problem for consumers – it hurts farmers and ranchers, who can’t differentiate their product or earn a premium for offering a local option.
“Given its deep flaws, it is encouraging that the USDA is reassessing the “Product of the USA” label. We sincerely hope the agency will limit the claim exclusively to meat born, raised, slaughtered, and processed domestically, offering greater transparency to consumers and financial opportunities to American farmers and ranchers.”
National Farmers Union advocates on behalf of nearly 200,000 American farm families and their communities. We envision a world in which farm families and their communities are respected, valued, and enjoy economic prosperity and social justice.