Do you know where your beef is from? Unfortunately, even beef that is labeled “Product of the US” may not actually be from the United States, according to the Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association (SCCA).
SCCA recently launched an informational campaign on its website and social media outlets to let consumers know that during a time when beef prices at the grocery store are reaching record highs, it can be impossible for consumers to know where their beef was raised. In some cases, beef labeling is deliberately deceiving consumers.
“SCCA has always been for letting consumers know where their beef was born, raised and processed. For several years, consumers could easily find this information under the Country of Origin Labeling passed by Congress in 2013. Since that labeling was repealed in 2015, consumers can no longer tell if their steak is from the US or Brazil,” said SCCA President Scott Nielsen. “There are also many cases where beef is being labeled ‘Product of the US’ when it is in fact from another country.”
The deceptive “Product of the US” labels on beef are being allowed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture due to a loophole regulation that says if beef is processed or repackaged in the US, regardless of its country of origin, a “Product of the US” label can be applied. That means a chuck roast or beef tri-tip from Australia that was repackaged at a US plant can bear the “Product of the US” label.
“At a time when grocery stores are having a hard time keeping their meat cases stocked and beef prices are climbing every week, we feel consumers deserve to have all the information they need to make an informed choice when they spend their money,” Nielsen said. “Allowing companies to deliberately deceive consumers with false labels is wrong and we don’t want people to be taken advantage of.”
The new SCCA campaign includes a downloadable brochure that clarifies what the current labels on beef mean, including pictures of misleading labels.
“Right now if you want to be certain where your beef comes from, you should buy from a local producer,” said Nielsen. “Our affiliate, R-CALF USA, has recently started a website, usabeef.org, where you can find suppliers in your area.”
To search local beef producers, visit www.usabeef.org. Click here to download the PDFs of our informational brochure: