'Product of USA' label rule will help ensure consumers to trust the process of their food from start to finish was done in America

The USDA's "Product of the USA" Rule Continues To Draw Mixed Reactions as a Worker Union and Canadian Government Weighed in this Past Week.

Article first published on March 16, 2024

The rule, announced last week, stated chicken, beef, pork and other animal protein can only be sold under patriotic packaging if the product was wholly produced in America, from conception to meat counter.

The decision was lauded by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), whose president, Marc Perrone, lambasted the practice of repackaging meat that originated outside the U.S. as American, as ‘trickery’ and ‘cheating.’ “Now, consumers can shop with confidence, knowing that when they buy products with the USA label, their money will actually go toward supporting America’s ranchers and meatpacking and processing workers,” Perrone said in a statement.

“This final rule will ensure that when consumers see ‘Product of USA’ they can trust the authenticity of that label and know that every step involved, from birth to processing, was done here in America.” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. He said in a statement that accurate labeling equips smaller producers with a compelling and truthful messaging that helps them compete more effectively.

The USDA’s announcement was welcomed by national animal protein associations, which have battled to eradicate USA-centric labeling from products produced or processed across national borders.

Some Canadian producers and processors disagree.

The Canadian Pork Council released a statement pointing out that the stringent labeling doesn’t reflect cross-border collaborations within the industry. “We are pleased the Government of Canada has already indicated it will be looking at options to correct the protectionist nature of these proposed regulations, and we ask the federal government to be vigilant to protect our market access,” said CPC chair René Roy in a statement.

USA-origin claims continue to be voluntary, the USDA said in a statement, and producers are expected to maintain documentation that backs up any such claim. Labels must include details about product origin and processing location. Correspondingly, the USDA has updated its labeling guidance ; comments about lableing are open and may be submitted at www.regulations.gov.

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