Soon, it might be easier for people to figure out if the steaks or pork chops they buy at the grocery store were really “Made in the USA.” On Monday, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced new rules that say “Made in the USA” or “Product of USA” labels can only be put on meat, poultry, or eggs that come from animals “born, raised, slaughtered, and processed in the United States.” This is a big change from the current policy, which lets imported and repackaged meat products use these kinds of labels on their own if they want to.
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said that the new rule would make labels more in line with what people want. Nearly two-thirds of shoppers thought that a “Product of USA” label meant that most or all of the steps in making the meat happened in the U.S. This was found in a survey that the USDA paid for.
Consumer advocates and people who work for U.S. ranchers and farmers, like the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, which asked the USDA in 2019 to change the labels, liked the rule. Thomas Gremillion, who is in charge of food policy at the Consumer Federation of America, said that the change is a “small but important step” that should have been made a long time ago. The head of a trade group called the American Grassfed Association, Carrie Balkcom, said that the current rule also hurts small domestic producers.