Waco, Texas - Texas Farmers Union (TFU) has enlisted its members and others to offer feedback to the U.S. Department of Agriculture on labeling of U.S. beef imports.
Through October 9, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is accepting public comments concerning the voluntary labeling of U.S. cattle and fresh beef products. TFU President Wes Sims sent a letter earlier this month supporting mandatory labeling of beef born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States, and he is encouraging other producers and consumers to do the same.
Current regulations allow voluntary labeling of fresh beef products using terms such as "USA Beef" "Fresh American Beef" on products derived from cattle born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States. However, a petition has been filed to allow "Made in USA" labeling on beef products from imported cattle that are then raised and fed a minimum of 100 days and processed in the United States.
"The "Made in USA" label should be reserved for cattle born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States," Sims said. "All other definitions of U.S. beef would be misleading to consumers and disingenuous to U.S. products."
According to Sims, food labeling can be a valuable marketing tool to help promote products and to allow producers to better compete in the marketplace.
"The majority of American people do have, and should have, more confidence in U.S. produced beef," Sims said. "Our nation has an international reputation for growing and producing healthy and high quality beef. Those of us who are American beef producers rightfully deserve to have our products labeling "Made in the USA." Using the same label for beef primarily raised in another country diminishes the integrity of the U.S. livestock industry.
"It just makes sense," Sims continued. "Consumers deserve the right to know where their food comes from. Our clothes bear a country-of-origin label, and yet there is no requirement for country-of-origin labels for food we feed our families. As a matter of choice, many consumer may wish to purchase meat from animals and raised under strict U.S. standards."
To join the Texas Farmers Union letter-writing campaign, contact Sims at 254-776-4700 or visit www.texasfarmersunion.org for more information and a sample letter.
|Texas Farmers Union, P.O. Box 738, Sweetwater, Tx 79556|