Reader: Support accurate labeling for beef

Cows eating in a pasture.
Beef cattle at Meadow View Farm, in Moundsville, West Virginia, Nov. 3. (Sarah Donaldson photo)

Dear Editor:

Did you know that every article of foreign origin entering the United States must be legibly marked with the English name of the country of origin unless an exception from marking is provided for in the law? Did you know beef is one of those exceptions? 

Today beef is arriving at our ports and borders from over a dozen countries taken to a warehouse or fabrication facility, unpackaged, then repackaged and stamped with a product of USA label. Countries with questionable sanitary, handling and shipping procedures, countries with known animal diseases that could wipe out the entire U.S. cattle herd if landed on our borders. 

The American consumer has been deceived by the corporate giants in the beef industry. Multinational companies like JBS, Cargill, Tyson and National, which now control over 85% of the beef harvested and sold in this country. 

Did I mention that two were foreign companies? Fourth quarter profits for JBS reached $1.3 billion and revenue for 2021 hit $71 billion. All this at a time when retail beef has reached a record high in the grocery stores, and cattlemen can barely break even. In 2021, imported beef entering this country was 3.35 billion pounds, the largest annual import level since 2015. 

Senate Bill 2716, The American Beef Labeling Act, would make it law that any beef marked with the USA label would have to be 100% born, raised and harvested in the U.S. A companion bill in the house is H.R. 7291. Multiple attempts to contact Sen. Sherrod Brown, Sen. Rob Portman and Congressman Bill Johnson have fallen on deaf ears. 

Sens. Brown and Portman have always defended the USA label and argued against WTO policies and rulings. Congressman Johnson, a retired Air force Lieutenant Colonel, has had a long career standing up for this country, and now the cattlemen need him more than ever. 

Please contact these three legislators and ask them to support S.B. 2716, the American Beef Labeling Act, or H.R. 7291. The American consumer has the right to know and decide on what products they want to purchase and where they originated. Let’s make “Product of USA” mean “Product of USA.” 

Dave Hyde
R-CALF USA Region 8 director
Bloomingdale, Ohio


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