OCM Calls for Moratorium on Beef Imports ‘American Producers Can Feed America’
LINCOLN, NE–Today, the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) sent a letter to United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, calling on him to follow President Trump’s suggestion recently to terminate the importation of cattle into the United States.
“While we agree with that strategy, we feel it does not go far enough,” said Ben Gotschall, OCM Interim Executive Director. “The U.S. must also ban beef imports, especially beef imported from Brazil. The February 2020 lift of the ban on Brazilian beef imports was a mistake, and needs to be reversed.”
For two years the U.S. had closed its border to Brazilian beef after numerous concerns were raised about its safety. In 2017, JBS was caught bribing meat inspectors and exporting adulterated rotten meat worldwide. Because the U.S. no longer requires mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling on beef, and the USDA allows imported meat to be falsely labeled “Product of U.S.A.,” consumers are not able to distinguish between U.S. beef and the new imports.
OCM’s call for a ban comes after reports of beef shortages at the same time that producers are struggling to find markets for their cattle. Also during this time, Brazil-based JBS, the world’s largest meatpacking company, has announced that it is poised to flood the American market with its imported beef.
“The market disruption caused by Covid-19 has left cattle producers hurting across the country. Low prices, processing bottlenecks and drought have put unprecedented pressure on American farmers and ranchers,” said Gotschall. “In the absence of Country of Origin Labeling, to continue to allow imported cattle and foreign beef to unfairly compete with domestic producers and products is kicking American ranchers while they are down.”
OCM’s letter also stated that the group is working proactively with its members and stakeholders to develop policy recommendations for a transition to a more decentralized food system and reiterated its call for a breakup of the “Big Four” meatpacking companies.
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