November 26, 2013

New Country-of-Origin Labelling Laws for the Meat Industry

There are a new federal labeling laws that took effect Saturday, Nov. 23 2013.

Meatpackarers are now required to include country-of-origin labels on packaged meat. This includes where livestock was born, raised and slaughtered. Existing laws require meatpackers to list countries, but not what activities took place where. The development of this legislation began in 2002, when mad cow disease from imported meat was a concern in the United States.

Big names in the industry, namely Cargill Inc. and Tyson Food Inc., oppose the law. They claim that it is wasteful and costly. The USDA estimates that compliance to the new rules will cost the meat industry between $53.1 million and $192.1 million.

These costs include the elimination of commingling, the combining of different herds located in different countries. With this new legislation, it is now required that livestock be separated according to origin. The only exception is ground beef, where commingling is still permitted.

Supporters of the bill  believe that it will improve food safety, and strengthen transparency, which is especially critical during outbreaks of food-borne illness.

I'm sure not all of you are meat eaters. But nevertheless, what are your thoughts on the law?

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Images courtesy of:
1. Getty Images

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