USDA announces honest labeling on U.S. beef 

in August 16th, 2021

Here's one of two stories we emailed August 16, 2021. Sign up for updates directly in your inbox.

Last November, we learned of the deception in meat labeling in the U.S.. Previous rules allowed meat to be labeled as a “Product of the U.S.A.” as long as it was processed and packaged domestically — even when all they did on American soil was move the imported beef from delivery box to retail boxes. This became particularly troublesome when Nicaragua stepped up to fill U.S. demand amidst pandemic-driven beef shortages.

Nicaragua’s cattle ranchers attacked Indigenous communities to seize jungle land and clear it for pasture. This land makes up a third of the country and had been legally owned by the Indigenous people for nearly 20 years. Attempts to make them flee escalated to deadly attacks on villages and led to a rapid increase in homicide rates for the first half of 2020. One village was attacked to seize lands for slaughterhouses, resulting in 16 homes burned down. The conflict meat from these operations ended up American groceries, labeled as grass-fed, sustainable beef made in the U.S.

Nine months later, we’re happy to report U.S. food labels will soon be more transparent through a number of changes to restrict the formerly loose guidelines.

  • First, a new rule from the Federal Trade Commission cracks down on marketers who make false, unqualified claims about where their products are made, driven largely thanks to 838 public submissions, mainly by cattle ranchers.
  • Soon after, the USDA announced that animals raised in other countries but processed in the U.S. can no longer be labeled as domestic products.
  • And just this month, a pair of bills were introduced in the House and Senate that would require any meat labeled “Product of the U.S.A” to be born, raised, and slaughtered in the U.S.A.

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