'Processed in the USA' Inferior to 'Product of the USA'

Processing on its own doesn’t care where the beef comes from.

JSSP Letter to Editor

You might have read recently that the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is petitioning USDA to replace Product of the USA with Processed in the USA. Why does this matter? There’s a big difference between the words “Product” and “Processed” when applied to beef labels. “Product of the USA” includes the producers. It takes into account the raw materials that you need to make a product. Under Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL), Product of the USA guarantees the beef is born, raised and slaughtered right here in this country.

Processing on its own doesn’t care where the beef comes from. It’s another step to undermine farmers and ranchers and flood the market with cheap foreign meat. This drives commodity prices down and boosts profits to the corporate multinational packers. This form of labeling wouldn’t benefit North Dakota. “Processed in the USA” labeling will only drive cattle prices down. This petition wouldn’t be so insulting if I wasn’t being forced to pay the NCBA to represent my interests through the checkoff.

Supporting the American Beef Labeling Act is the best way to ensure an honest label for beef and support North Dakota’s cattle industry. “Product of the USA” should be the label everyone looks at if they want to support their local farmers and ranchers. We need to strengthen the requirements for it. Born, raised and slaughtered in the USA needs to be the criteria we use to award the label and the American Beef Labeling Act does just that. Sen. John Hoeven has stepped up to be a leader on this issue co-sponsoring the bill. Where does Sen. Kevin Cramer stand?

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