Biden Administration Acts to Stop Product of USA Labeling Fraud in Beef

March 6, 2023 Press Release

Washington, D.C — Today, the Department of Agriculture released proposed rules to stop deceptive labeling around meat, poultry, or egg products that are labeled as “Product in USA.” This change occurred to bring the Agriculture Department in line with the Federal Trade Commission’s June 2021 product labeling rules, and to follow through on the White House executive order compelling all of government to focus on fostering fair competition. In response, the American Economic Liberties Project released the following statement.

“Currently, large meatpackers import foreign beef, process it in the United States, and then lie to customers by labeling it as American beef,” said Matt Stoller, Research Director at the American Economic Liberties Project. “This proposed rule would bar such deception and make sure that domestic producers and large processors are competing on a level playing field. More than 45% of consumers believe Product of USA means that beef comes from cows born, raised, slaughtered, and processed in America, so this is an important step in bringing product labeling in line with consumer expectations.”

“With domestic cattle herds at a 62 year-low, the situation for cattlemen in America is a crisis,” said Stoller. “Large meatpackers are continuing to engage in a slow-motion outsourcing of the U.S. beef industry, using deception and other unfair methods of competition. This is a good first step, but Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Congress must do much more to save the U.S. cattle industry. Congress should pass the American Beef Labeling Act, which would mandate country of origin labeling for beef. And policymakers should take on the big four meatpackers directly – JBS Foods, Tyson Foods, Cargill and Marfrig – by restoring the Packers and Stockyards Act, ending non-priced cattle contracts, and stopping the ability of packers to own or control cattle.”

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The American Economic Liberties Project works to ensure America’s system of commerce is structured to advance, rather than undermine, economic liberty, fair commerce, and a secure, inclusive democracy. Economic Liberties believes true economic liberty means entrepreneurs and businesses large and small succeed on the merits of their ideas and hard work; commerce empowers consumers, workers, farmers, and engineers instead of subjecting them to discrimination and abuse from financiers and monopolists; foreign trade arrangements support domestic security and democracy; and wealth is broadly distributed to support equitable political power.