Sen. Rounds, Thune push to keep foreign beef from receiving label “Product of the U.S.A.”

They urge USDA to change beef labeling requirements

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds and John Thune took steps today to keep beef born, raised and slaughtered in foreign countries from receiving a “Product of the U.S.A.” label.

Currently the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) does not require that beef be born, raised and slaughtered in the U.S. in order to carry the “Product of the U.S.A.” label. This loophole allows beef from livestock born and raised in foreign countries to given this label as long as the beef undergoes additional processing at a processing plant in the U.S.

Sens. Thune and Rounds wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to offer support for administrative changes to the FSIS beef labeling requirements.

“Our cattle producers offer some of the highest-quality beef in the world,” said Rounds. “Consumers deserve to know where their food is coming from. When South Dakota families purchase beef labeled ‘Product of the U.S.A.,’ they should know with certainty that it is coming from one of our top-quality producers. Today’s beef labeling rules are misleading and allow beef and beef products from cattle born, raised and slaughtered outside of the U.S. to be labeled as U.S. beef. This must be fixed for both consumers and our hardworking producers.”

“For South Dakota ranchers, ‘Product of the U.S.A’ is far more than a label. It’s a sense of pride, and it represents a way of life,” said Thune. “This legislation is straightforward and common sense, two qualities that are often lacking in Washington and are made up for by South Dakotans and their hardworking spirit. It’s with our ranchers and agriculture community in mind that I’m proud to support this bill to give consumers more accurate information about what’s on the grocery store shelf and help showcase America’s beef products – the best in the world – as clearly and as proudly as possible.”

The U.S. Beef Integrity Act would make certain that the “Product of the U.S.A.” label only goes to beef and beef products exclusively derived from one or more animals born, raised and slaughtered in the U.S.

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