USCA Responds to Misrepresentation of Facts

(MARCH 5, 2021) – The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) was disappointed by a recent media statement which blatantly misrepresented the years of hard work undertaken by USCA and its members to secure truth in labeling on U.S. beef products and alternative proteins.

In response, USCA President Brooke Miller issued this brief statement:  

“In a time when it is more important than ever for the industry to stand united against depressed market conditions, and attacks on our livelihood by activist groups and self-righteous billionaires, it was disappointing to see such a targeted and misconstrued statement made against USCA by R-CALF CEO Mr. Bill Bullard.

“To set the record straight, USCA supports any and all efforts to define ‘Product of the U.S.A.’ labels on U.S. beef as beef that is born, AND raised, AND harvested, AND processed in the U.S.A. We will continue to work to achieve our policy goals undistracted and unfazed by attempts to assault our integrity and divide the industry. To that end, USCA remains open to collaboration with any members of the industry who share our common goals.”

USCA Highlights Members’ Work on Truth in Labeling:

NOTE: This is NOT an exhaustive list of our members’ work on reestablishing a truthful and transparent country-of-origin labeling program since the repeal of mandatory COOL in 2015. This list also does not include our efforts to ensure accurate labeling on alternative proteins.

Instead, we hope the provided links to countless hours of Congressional testimony, unedited social media livestreams, recorded phone conversations, public comments, press statements, letters, and more on this subject will provide proof of exactly what we are fighting for every day in the nation’s capital.  

July 2015: USCA Director Emeritus Leo McDonnell testifies in front of U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee against the repeal of mandatory country-of-origin labeling. USCA knew at that time that if the program were to be stripped clean from the books at USDA, there would be no recourse for packers claiming the “Product of the U.S.A.” label on imported beef as there would be no accurate definition for what constitutes a U.S. beef product. Later that year, that’s exactly what we saw happen when Congress voted to repeal the program in full.

May 2016: USCA Marketing Committee member Joe Goggins testifies on behalf of USCA on the “State of the U.S. Livestock Industry“, urging the need for a truthful and transparent labeling program.

April 2017: USCA submits comments on the proposed rulemaking titled Addition of Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling Requirements for Venison asking that the mandatory COOL requirements should be harmonized with the entire spectrum of meat products by reintroducing beef products to the Mandatory COOL requirements.

October 2019: USCA utilized the Leo McDonnell COOL Fund to file a petition for rulemaking to USDA to close the “Product of the U.S.A.” loophole. Around that same time, Senator Jon Tester introduced a resolution supporting a truthful and transparent origin labeling program for U.S. beef. Senator John Thune and Mike Rounds then introduced a bill that would restrict the “Product of the U.S.A.” label to being borne by beef that was truly born, raised and harvested in the U.S.

September 2019: In front of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, USCA Marketing Committee Member Shane Eaton stresses the need to close the current loophole allowing “Product of the U.S.A.” labels to be used on foreign beef.

December 2019: USCA appeals to President Donald J. Trump to include country-of-origin labeling provisions within the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA).

March 2020: USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) responds to USCA’s petition, suggesting that not only does the current loophole allow imported beef to be labeled as “Product of the U.S.A.” but that it could be happening in meatpacking plants across the nation. This is the first major progress since COOL was originally passed in the 2008 Farm Bill – and the first step towards truth in labeling since the program’s repeal in 2015.

April 2020: USCA hosts a Horn Wrap Call dedicated exclusively to finding a pathway forward for truth in labeling on domestic beef products. Listen to that call here.

May: 2020: USCA’s Labeling Committee Co-Chair Maggie Nutter and Director of Policy & Outreach Lia Biondo discuss all things related to truthful and transparent labeling on U.S. beef during a #FactsOnlyFriday livestream.

September 2020: USCA submits comments to the Federal Trade Commission in response to their Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) related to “Made in USA” and other unqualified U.S.-origin claims on product labels. USCA hosts a #FactsOnlyFriday​ livestream on “Made in the USA” Product Claims with Labeling Committee Co-Chair Danni Beer and Director of Policy & Outreach Lia Biondo.

February 2021: USCA sends letter to the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council to offer changes that would need to be in place before the Biden Administration could be sure its “Buy American” mandate would truly benefit U.S. cattle producers.