USDA finalizes rule on Product of the USA labeling

The USDA has finalized its new Product of the U.S.A. labeling rule for meat, poultry, and eggs. 

Joe Maxwell, co-founder of Farm Action, says the rule is good news for America’s farmers and ranchers.  “It was a great day to be in the room when the Secretary announced that America’s farmers and ranchers can be assured that only their meat products, those born, raised, slaughtered, and processed in the United States, will bear that American flag and that proud name Product of the USA,” he says.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack made the announcement during his appearance at the National Farmers Union annual convention in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday.

Maxwell says the rule addresses a loophole created by the repeal of mandatory country-of-origin labeling in 2015. “This bans corporations from lying and from being deceitful,” he says.  “And for stealing market opportunity. It’s a huge win that the Biden administration, the Secretary delivered to America’s farmers and ranchers.”  Maxwell says the announcement comes after a six-year-long fight for labeling reform.

AUDIO: Joe Maxwell, Farm Action

Kent Bacus, executive director of government affairs with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, says the group appreciates the USDA’s efforts to address the loophole, but it’s important that the rule is WTO compliant to avoid a trade war with Canada and Mexico.  “The USDA has been very consistent in their position that because this is a voluntary rule and that because it’s not mandated to producers or packers, that because it is voluntary that that is what will allow them to remain trade compliant,” he says.

Bacus says the rule could also create an opportunity for producer premiums.

AUDIO: Kent Bacus, NCBA

  • What is now needed is an effective information campaign to educate the public on how to identify and rely upon Product of the USA labelling. Absence of the labeling can only be an indication that the product is not born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the USA.

    This is a great victory for American farmers to accurately represent the importance of “home grown” agricultural products.

    Long overdue.

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