Received “American” Beef? The Thriller Behind Meat Labels

The place does the meat we devour really come from? And why does it matter? 

After we buy beef, we could not take into account all the pieces that occurred earlier than the package deal hit the grocery retailer shelf. Nonetheless, the place and the way cattle are raised can have a huge impact on the standard of meat and the general well-being of our planet.

The next is an excerpt from Grass-Fed Beef for a Submit-Pandemic World by Lynne Pledger and Ridge Shinn. It has been tailored for the net.

Restoring a Nation-of-Origin Labeling Requirement

The Biden administration has the chance to spice up rural economies everywhere in the nation just by requiring that meat labels within the grocery shops inform it like it’s.

At present, the labels on packages of grass-fed beef that say “Product of the USA” don’t imply that the animal was born, raised, or slaughtered in america. This labeling solely implies that the meat was dealt with right here, that it was reduce into smaller items or floor into hamburger or in any other case minimally processed and packaged right here. In actual fact, “Product of the USA” on a package deal nearly definitely implies that the grass-fed beef therein didn’t come from america, even when the package deal is adorned with American flags. Almost certainly the meat was imported from Australia, Uruguay, or New Zealand.

As a result of misleading labeling on packages of imported grass-fed beef leads buyers to consider that they’re shopping for American beef, it permits corporations exporting meat from abroad to money in on the wishes of many Individuals to assist US corporations. At present this advertising technique is completely authorized, however that was not all the time the case. The short-lived Nation of Origin Labeling requirement (COOL), which required retailers to inform prospects the place beef got here from, went into impact in 2009 however was repealed in 2016.10

Why Does It Matter?

What distinction does it make the place grass-fed beef cattle had been raised? Prospects need to know the nation of origin for a minimum of two causes:

  1. Many need their meals {dollars} to assist the grass-fed beef motion in america. Ideally, they wish to purchase grass-fed beef within the area the place they dwell, in order that the cash spent will profit the native or regional rural financial system, and assist the farmland and farm households near dwelling.
  2. More and more, persons are associating 100% grass-fed beef with strategies which can be good for the atmosphere and fight local weather change by storing carbon within the floor.

Some folks may assume, “I would like grass-fed beef produced with environmentally pleasant strategies, no matter the place on the planet these practices are occurring.” Sadly, imported grass-fed beef is usually not produced by regenerative grazing; due to this fact, shopping for it is not going to assist the environmental advantages which can be related to grass-fed beef. Even when the grass-fed animals abroad are usually not fed grain, the traditional grazing methodology used (which we have now described as steady grazing) is not going to construct topsoil, retailer carbon, or defend towards droughts and floods.

In the meantime, it’s surprisingly cheap to ship beef throughout oceans, and due to this fact US grass-fed beef producers are being undercut by overseas rivals. Whereas US grass-fed is just a small a part of the grass-fed market, if the Nation of Origin Labeling requirement had been reenacted and prospects knew the place their beef was coming from, we may count on a resurgence within the home grass-fed beef market.

So, what’s the treatment for this example? Motion on the federal stage. On January 3, 2022, the Biden administration issued a launch pledging to “problem new ‘Product of USA’ labeling guidelines so that customers can higher perceive the place their meat comes from.”11

We’ll see.


10. Agricultural Advertising Service, “Nation of Origin Labeling (COOL),” US Division of Agriculture,

11. The White Home Briefing Room, “Truth Sheet: The Biden-Harris Motion Plan for a Fairer, Extra Aggressive, and Extra Resilient Meat and Poultry Provide Chain,” January 3, 2022, /statements-releases/2022/01/03/fact-sheet-the-biden-harris-action-plan-for -a-fairer-more-competitive-and-more-resilient-meat-and-poultry-supply-chain/.

Really helpful Reads

Feeding the World: Why Regenerative Grazing Is So Necessary

The Case for Beef

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