Food & Agriculture

Consumer Federation of America Statement Supporting USDA Rule to Curb Misleading “Product of USA” Claims on Meat and Poultry

Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed a rule that will require meat, poultry and egg products bearing “Product of USA” labeling claims to only come from animals born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States. Thomas Gremillion, Director of Food Policy at Consumer Federation, made the following statement:

“This rule takes a small but important step to protect consumers. Outrageously, companies are now allowed to slap a “Product of USA” label on meat from other countries. In other words, a company can purchase meat that is a ‘Product of Brazil,’ put it in a new box, and call it ‘Product of USA.’ The current rules also allow a company to label ‘Product of USA’ meat from animals that have been imported from a foreign country. So, a cow that spends its entire life in Mexico, is given feed subject to Mexican feed regulations, and is treated with antibiotics and other medicines subject to Mexican drug regulations, could be shipped across the border and slaughtered the same day to make ground beef lawfully labeled ‘Product of USA.’

“USDA’s survey research shows that the vast majority of consumers have no idea that ‘Product of USA’ can apply to meat that’s actually from another country, or from animals raised or slaughtered in another country. This rule will better align the requirements for ‘Product of USA’ labeling with consumer expectations and common sense. However, USDA should go further. According to a survey commissioned by CFA, 88% of Americans favor requiring all beef and pork products to be labeled with information about the country where animals were born, raised and slaughtered. USDA should work with Congress and the U.S. Trade Representative to reinstate mandatory country-of-origin labeling rules for pork and beef products.”