Last week, a bipartisan group of four Senators jointly announced the American Beef Labeling Act. The legislation would mandate the reinstatement of beef and beef products into the existing Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling Law (M-COOL), allowing for a 12-month development and implementation grace period. The Family Farm Action Alliance has long advocated for Country-of-Origin Labeling as an essential tool for transparency in the meat industry.
Under current law, imported beef products can bear a “Product of the USA” label once finished and repackaged domestically. Farm Action Alliance says the leniency has benefited large multinational meatpacking companies at the expense of independent, U.S.-based farmers and ranchers. The bill would require to Office of the Trade Representative, in consultation with the Ag Secretary, to develop a World Trade Organization-compliant means of reinstating MCOOL for beef within one year of reinstatement. The legislation was introduced in the Senate by Republicans John Thune and Mike Rounds of South Dakota and Democrats Cory Booker of New Jersey and Jon Tester of Montana.