Last week, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) to eliminate the use of “Product of the USA” (POTUSA) and other broad U.S. origin labeling claims for beef products that are potentially misleading to consumers.
NCBA believes that current “Product of the USA” labels are a disservice to American consumers and cattle producers alike, noting the claim implies that a beef product is entirely of U.S. origin. But in reality, imported beef products are eligible to be labeled “Product of the USA” as long as the product has been minimally processed or repackaged in a USDA-inspected facility. It is not subject to source verification, is not tied to any kind of food safety standard, and is applied by packers and retailers in a manner that does not deliver value back to the cattle producer.
For many years, NCBA has supported voluntary efforts which provide producers the opportunity to capture more value through origin labels and corresponding marketing initiatives that are voluntary and source-verified. In lieu of the “Product of the USA” label, NCBA is advocating for a more appropriate generic label, such as “Processed in the USA.”
NCBA notes this voluntary label would represent investments made by producers to continually improve their product and meet consumer demand. Marketing through source-verification will provide a more accurate and truthful description of the product, which will reduce the potential for consumer confusion while increasing the ability for cattle producers to capture additional premiums for their product.