New Federal Meat Label Rule Goes Into Effect, Tells Consumers Where The Meat Was Raised And Slaughtered

A new federal meat label rule went into effect this past Saturday, which requires labels to include information about the country where the animal was born, raised, and slaughtered in.

KBIA reported that the country-of-origin labeling mandate (COOL) forces retailers and meatpackers to list where the meat was born, raised and slaughtered. The report continued on to say that the new labeling mandate applies to certain cuts of beef, veal, chicken, pork, lamb and goat sold in the supermarket. Other products, such as deli and ground meats are exempt from these new mandates.

The new meat labeling rule has brought up a lot of discussion. ABC News reported that while consumer advocates see the regulation as a way to strengthen food safety, a number of companies in the meat industry oppose it, saying it’s wasteful and costly.

The Los Angeles Times stated that meatpackers such as Cargill Inc. and Tyson Foods Inc. oppose the law, saying that it’s not only costly, but wasteful. “They contend that the U.S. already has rules in place to enforce food safety and fear the law will hurt demand for imported meat.”

The report went on to say that The American Meat Institute, along with several other trade groups, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. and the National Pork Producers Council, reportedly filed a lawsuit against the USDA in U.S. District Court in Washington back in July to block the rules from taking effect. A judge ruled against the institute, which is now appealing the decision.

“The costs associated with this new inefficient process will drive some processors dependent on imports out of business and destroy the market for meat from imported livestock,” the institute said in its complaint.

The Consumers Union said in a letter to members of both houses of Congress saying that “Country-of-origin labeling provides consumers with vital information that allows them to make informed choices about the food they eat.” According to KBIA, Chandler Goule of the National Farmers Union says that health concerns are one reason some consumer want to know more about their meat.

“My local producers are proud of the products they produce,” Goule said. “They want to be able to tell the consumer that this product is from the U.S. — it was raised here locally. So the consumer has information to make an informed decision when they’re in the grocery store.”

While some believe that these new mandates are important, others believe that they are only going to cause the prices of meat to go up. What do you think about these new meat labeling mandates? Do you believe that it will cause the price of meat to rise? Or maybe that it will give consumers some piece of mind knowing where their meat is coming from? Maybe it will be a bit of both.

[photo credit: mroczknj via photopin cc]

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