STURGIS, SD – Other countries recognize American beef, shouldn’t America?
That’s a question that many in the beef industry and those who consume the product have been asking for decades.
A comments drive, “Label Our Beef,” is asking producers and consumers to send a message to Congress in support of mandatory country of origin labeling and the American Beef Labeling Act, a bipartisan bill in both the Senate and the House. The Senate version is S.2716 and the House version is H.R.7291.
It’s an easy and quick process.
- Visit www.labelourbeef.com
- Click “MCOOL Campaign”
- Complete the form
- Click “Next”
- Click “Submit”
- Ask others to take action
Mandatory country of origin labeling for beef was passed in 2002, partially implemented in 2009 and overturned by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2015 after two of the U.S. largest trading partners, Canada and Mexico, challenged the labeling law claiming unfair trade practices.
Since then, multiple efforts to bring mandatory country of origin labeling for beef back have been made and have failed. So what’s different this time?
Bret Kenzy, a Gregory, S.D., cow/calf producers, feeder and farmer who is president of R-CALF USA says two things have; empty shelves and meat cases during the pandemic that woke Congress up to food being a national security issue and a diminished WTO.
“What has changed,” says Kenzy, “is when we saw empty shelves across America during COVID-19, we began to realize that we had some big problems. There has been a renewed interest in Washington, D.C. in the issues we face out here in rural American in feeding this country.”
He continued, “And the WTO; the group that ruled against MCOOL in 2015. The WTO isn’t as strong an organization now as it was then. There is every chance they would re-assess the 2015 ruling. That, coupled with newfound interest from Congress, gives us a chance to get the American Beef Labeling Act re-instated. Especially in light of rolling into a new Farm Bill. There will be a lot of discussion going on.”
The American Beef Labeling Act is a bill currently in both the Senate and House of Representatives. Kenzy says creating energy behind the legislation could lead to reinstating mandatory country of origin labeling. Go on line to labelourbeef.com for more details.
“This issue has been around for a long time,” Kenzy observes. “But now we have a bill filed in Congress. That’s what we’ve asked for and that’s what we’ve gotten. Now we’re pushing to get it turned into law. We think this is the first step to gain competitiveness for the American cattlemen and choice back for the American consumer.”