SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) –This week the Secretary of Agriculture announced a proposed change to a USDA rule about the voluntary Product of USA label for meat.
“This is a voluntary label, it’s not a mandatory thing, but its something supermarkets could put on this label and people would assume that that was American meat,” South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association President Eric Jennings said.
But that original rule had a major loophole.
“The definition of the rule those processors could bring meat in from a foreign country and just repackage it,” Jennings said. “We had a real issue with that because felt like it defied the trust of the consumer.”
“We found out about it talking to local groups of farmers and ranchers and we couldn’t figure out why our own USDA was labeling any product of the USA being any beef as long as it was being repackaged here,” South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds said.
Senator Rounds has been working to close that loophole for years, proposing legislation to do just that.
“It ought to be born in the U.S., raised in the U.S., fed in the U.S., harvest and processed in the U.S.,” Senator Rounds said.
After seeing the Senator’s bi-partisan proposal, this week the Secretary of Agriculture announced a proposed change to the UDSA rule.
“He agreed that they don’t need legislation, they can simply change the rules that apply and the changes that they’re proposing will be mirroring what’s in our bill,” Senator Rounds said.
Under the proposed new ruling, any meat you find on grocery story shelves that has a voluntary product of U.S.A. label must have been born, raised and processed in the U.S.A.
“It’s more than just producers, it is about truth in advertising,” Senator Rounds said. “I think for American consumers to know that the beef that they’re purchasing is from the United States and that product actually has a real meaning to it is a pretty valuable item.”
This voluntary Product of USA labeling is different than the mandatory country of origin labeling that has also been a national discussion; Senator Rounds says that kind of labeling will have to be part of future trade deal negotiations.