That expensive steak with the “Product of U.S.A.” label in your grocery store may not be as “American” as you think. It’s just as likely to be a foreign import. That’s because the U.S. Department of Agriculture allows meat from foreign-raised cows passing through USDA-inspected processing plants to be labeled “Product of U.S.A.” But, “Product of U.S.A.” should mean “raised, processed and packaged” in our country. Now rural America is fighting back by officially challenging the USDA to stop this costly fraud on our ranchers and consumers.
Processors, knowing Americans prefer and pay more for beef produced in our own country, have huge profit motives in committing label fraud. It’s a great business model... buy cheap low-priced foreign beef, label it as American-raised beef and sell it to unsuspecting consumers at premium prices. Meanwhile, American producers lose millions in reduced prices because processors only pay them lower prices paid for foreign beef.
It’s ironic that our government is embroiled in trade fights all over the world while failing to stop unfair trade practices committed every day against Americans by corporations within our own borders. Double irony is that in Australia, where much of this fake-labeled meat comes from, restricts “Grown in Australia” labels to meat entirely produced in their country.
Agricultural and consumer groups are officially petitioning the USDA through the Federal Register process to stop this fraudulent practice. National Farmers Union supports this action. You can help by signing the petition and giving your personal comments online at https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FSIS-2018-0024. It is important to indicate that this hoax violates a section of the Federal Meat Inspection Act prohibiting “false” or “misleading” labels. Comments are due no later than midnight Sept. 17th.
Kansas’ congressional delegation could help. But, to my knowledge, not one of them is taking any steps requiring USDA to make honest label regulations. Kansas farmers, ranchers and consumers deserve better. Tell legislators to support the petition by demanding that the USDA rewrite regulations to make “Product of U.S.A.” truly mean “All American.” Their contact information is: Senator Moran: 202-224-6521; Senator Roberts: 202-224-4774; Congressman Ron Estes: 202-225-6216; Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins: 202-225-6601; Congressman Marshall: 202-225-2715; Congressman Kevin Yoder: 202-225-2865.