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The American beef industry is at a crossroad

As a consumer, I would think that a label that tells the truth is a pretty basic requirement for a government agency.

JSSP Letter to Editor
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The American beef industry is at a crossroad. Almost every food product is labeled as to country of origin, be it apples, nuts, chicken or seafood. Only beef and pork have no regulations that require packers to label what country they are from. Products labeled “Product of the USA” can sometimes mean that it is only processed here. The American Beef Labeling Act, S.2716, would ensure that beef labeled “Product of the USA “is from animals born, bred and slaughtered in the U.S.

Following Congress’s 2015 repeal of Mandatory Country of Origin (MCOOL) for beef and pork, packers have flooded the market with imported beef, 4.4 billion pounds in 2020 alone. North Dakota consumers pay record prices for beef at the grocery store while North Dakota cattle producers continue to receive decade-old, depressed prices for their cattle because four packers own 85% of the market. Their monopolistic practices exploit consumers, workers and ranchers alike here in North Dakota and the USA while making record profits. Reinstating MCOOL is one step toward creating a level playing field and rebuilding a fair and just food system. As a consumer, I would think that a label that tells the truth is a pretty basic requirement for a government agency.

Sen. John Hoeven has stepped up and shown leadership on this issue, joining eight other Democratic and Republican co-sponsors. I hope that everyone who cares about where our food comes from will call Sen. Kevin Cramer ((202) 224-2043) this week and urge him to join Hoeven in advancing S.2716.
Luke resides in Valley City, North Dakota, and is a Dakota Resource Council Ag Committee member.

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