NCBA: USA label proposal ‘ridiculous’
Colin Woodall, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assocation submitted comments on behalf of that group regarding USA beef labels. The U.S. Department of Agriculture had asked for comments on a proposal to require that only beef derived from cattle born, raised and processed in the United States be eligible for a USA label.
A couple of excerpts from NCBA’s comments to USDA’s Food Safety Administration follow:
“The ridiculous and subjective nature of the proposed change should be enough to convince FSIS that the petition is not worth considering.
“As you well know, all food coming into the U.S. must meet strict food safety regulations, which are well-regarded as some of the highest in the world. Questioning the ability of FSIS to adequately oversee imported products undermines the work FSIS does on behalf of the beef industry each and every day. The simple placement of a country-of-origin label does not enhance the safety of inspected product.
“The petition’s claim that the requested change would support U.S. farmers and ranchers is also detached from reality. In fact, such an action by FSIS would reduce economic opportunities for U.S. cattle producers. In many regions of our country, American farmers and ranchers bring cattle in from Canada and Mexico to background and feed before being harvested and processed. The value of those animals comes from the care and feed they receive here in the United States, not from their country of origin. Why should U.S. producers be denied opportunities just because of where they live in the United States? The requested change would impact the entire beef industry, not just grass-fed producers. A very small minority should not be granted a regulatory change that takes opportunities away from other producers. This example highlights the diversity of cattle production across the country and served as a key argument in NCBA’s opposition to mandatory COOL.”
–staff report – All information taken from NCBA comments to USDA
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the Oct. 23, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News