Wednesday, September 14, 2022

U.S. again working on meat labeling

United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he is once again working on labeling foods as product of the United States.

Canada has twice challenged that meat labeling and won at the World Trade Organization, most recently in 2015 when the WTO granted Canada permission to punish the U.S. with $1 billion worth of tariffs.

Politicians backed down and scrapped the Country of Origin labeling legislation.

Now Vilsack told a meeting of the National Farmers Union that his department is making progress on introducing new labeling rules.

Farmers in the U.S. think the labels would prompt consumers to prefer their products, but processors say it requires expensive logistics and paperwork to keep U.S. products separate from imported, especially for meats.

The United States Department of Agriculture began to re-examine the issue a year ago. Vilsack said USDA’s efforts to better define the term include a recent survey of 4,000 consumers to determine whether they want the labeling and would be prepared to pay an extra nickel.


The secretary said the survey results will help determine how the USDA can strengthen the rule-making process behind such a claim on the label.

“Once we do that we are in a position to essentially utilize the power that we have at the USDA to avoid misrepresentation or false statements,” Vilsack said.