The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed a new rule on Monday that would permit voluntary “Product of USA” and “Made in the USA” labels on meat, poultry, or eggs, only if they come from animals that were “born, raised, slaughtered and processed” within the country, Axios reported.
The proposed rule was part of the White House’s “action plan for a fairer, more competitive and more resilient meat and poultry supply chain” and was discussed in Jan. 2022.
According to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the proposed changes are intended to give American consumers the ability to make informed purchasing decisions by providing them with accurate information. “American consumers expect that when they buy a meat product at the grocery store, the claims they see on the label mean what they say,” Vilsack said in a statement.
The proposed rule would also address confusion among consumers over the meaning of the “Product of USA” label. A USDA survey from 2022 of 4,834 consumers discovered that 63% of respondents couldn’t accurately define the term. Many respondents believed that it referred to meat that was entirely produced in the U.S.
Currently, the existing regulations allow companies to use the label even if the animals were raised in another country but processed in the U.S. However, under the new proposed rule, the labels would only be permitted on products that meet the strict “born, raised, slaughtered and processed” in the U.S. criteria.
While imports of red meat, poultry, and eggs account for less than 6% of total consumption in the U.S., imports of beef from countries like Australia, Canada, and Brazil account for roughly 12% of the total, the Associated Press reported. Likewise, about 12% of all meat, poultry, and egg products sold in the U.S. carry the “Product of USA” or “Made in the USA” labels.
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