Producer members of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) are supporting efforts in the U.S. Senate to bring to fruition common sense country-of-origin labeling.  Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark), along with 13 co-sponsors, introduced the Meat Promotion Act (S. 1333) on June 29. The bill aims to establish a voluntary, market-driven labeling program for beef, pork and lamb.

Cattlemen have long supported country-of-origin labeling and are hopeful these efforts will succeed in Congress.  NCBA President and Texas cattle producer Jim McAdams says this marketing program will identify and promote American-grown beef. 

“America’s cattlemen take pride in producing the highest-quality and safest beef in the world,” says McAdams.  “We want to promote that fact, and we believe consumers will reward us by looking for the ‘born and raised in the U.S.’ label.” 

McAdams says the Meat Promotion Act offers producers, processors, retailers, restaurants and consumers a better country-of-origin labeling program for a variety of reasons, including:    

  • The Meat Promotion Act puts the marketplace in charge
    Food producers are in the business of meeting consumer demand. Where that demand is demonstrated, more products labeled with country-of-origin will become available.
  • Opportunityfor broad participation
    This program does not discriminate against any groups in the food production, retail or food service sectors.  The program is open to everyone that wants to participate.  More participation equals more promotion of U.S. product!
  • Successful models already exist
    Under this bill, USDA will implement a labeling program that will be similar to the many voluntary labeling programs that currently exist.  Hundreds of programs that label products by region, state and U.S. brand have already proven their value for producers and consumers alike. 

Companion legislation in the U.S. House, the Goodlatte-Berry-Blunt Meat Promotion Act (H.R. 2068) currently has 45 co-sponsors.  Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) introduced the Food Promotion Act (S. 1300) on June 23, which implements a country-of-origin labeling program for meat and produce. NCBA supports all these efforts to implement a labeling program that will be beneficial for producers and consumers. Cattle producers should contact their members of Congress and urge them to support these bills.