The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a proposed rule on March 6, 2023 with new regulatory requirements aimed at aligning the voluntary “Product of USA” label claim with consumer understanding of what the claim means. The proposed rule allows the voluntary “Product of USA” or “Made in the USA” label claim to be used on meat, poultry and egg products only when they are derived from animals born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States.
KC Sheperd, Farm Director, had the chance to visit with the President of American Farmers and Ranchers, Scott Blubaugh about these new requirements and more.
Blubaugh is currently attending the National Farmers Union National Convention in San Francisco, where he had the opportunity to listen to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack talking about the USDA proposing new requirements for the “Product of USA” label claim.
“I was really excited to hear that the Department of Agriculture there, USDA, filed in the federal registry new rules regulating the use of the product of USA label,” Vilsack said. “We have argued for many years now that there is a lot of fraud and deception that has gone on in that program, where they are labeling beef that comes from outside of the United States as a product of the USA label.”
In the past, products packaged in the U.S. could receive the label, Blubaugh said, which is not acceptable for consumers in the U.S. or AFR.
The new rules that have just been filed, Blubaugh said, require products to be born and raised in the United States to legally carry the Product of the USA label.
“That is the way it should have always been, but I am excited that finally we are going to get that reform that we have been asking for,” Blubaugh said.
Blubaugh is excited to see some movement on this front and provide consumers truth in labeling.
“I know in Oklahoma, we have some of the very best cattle in the world,” Blubaugh said. “We feed them the best way and we have best genetics and everything. It is very disheartening when one of these countries from outside the U.S. brings in beef that, quite frankly is inferior to our beef here in the United States.”
It is disheartening, Blubaugh said, to see beef from outside of the U.S. be labeled as a product of the U.S. when American producers work so hard to produce a quality product.
“If they want to bring it in and sell it, fine, but don’t lie to the American consumer and tell them it is a product of the USA when it is not,” Blubaugh said. “We know our product is superior.”