Brookings register | Real American Beef
You can find out exactly where your T-shirt was made if you check the tag or tag. Is it too much to ask for the same level of certainty when it comes to the beef you feed your family? The answer is clear and simple: no.
Unfortunately, the current beef labeling system in this country allows imported beef that is neither born nor raised in the United States, but simply ended up here, to be labeled as “product of the United States.” ? In theory, the ground beef you bought at the grocery store to grill on the grill this weekend during the game could have come from Brazil. Just because it was packaged here in the US, there could still be a misleading label on it. At this point, the only thing potentially made in the United States is the packaging it’s packaged in – if that’s the case.
In South Dakota, we take our beef seriously. Like you, if I’m at the local grocery store, I want to make sure that the beef I buy is from producers in our state or one of the other beef-producing states in the country. After all, South Dakota’s cattle ranchers work tirelessly to produce the highest quality beef in the world.
As a long-time member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, standing up for South Dakota’s ranchers is, and always will be, a top priority for me. I recently introduced the American Beef Labeling Act, which would require the United States Trade Representative (USTR), in consultation with the United States Secretary of Agriculture, to develop a means compliant with the World Trade Organization (WTO ) reinstate mandatory country of origin labeling (MCOOL) for beef. The WTO is essentially the world arbiter of trade between nations. Specifically, my bill would give USTR six months to develop a recovery plan followed by a six-month window to implement it. If the USTR does not reinstate the MCOOL for beef within one year of its enactment, it will automatically reinstate for beef only. This would ensure that when you see a label on your beef, you can trust it.
Since joining Congress, I have been a strong supporter of country of origin labeling. I believe that to ensure the viability of beef production in this country, the system in which the producers operate must be fair and transparent.
I voted in favor of the 2002 and 2008 farm bills, which included MCOOL which the WTO unfortunately canceled. Over the years, I have supported almost every piece of legislation that has passed through my office that prioritizes country of origin labeling. And I won’t stop until we get the results our producers need and want.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking at the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association convention in Spearfish on the importance of implementing MCOOL. The people have been crystal clear: the people of South Dakota want to know where their food comes from. And I agree.
The past year has highlighted the vital role of our farmers and herders in the national food supply chain and the urgent need to strengthen it. Rest assured that I am working tirelessly to gain support for my American Beef Labeling Act, because having transparency in labeling that benefits both our producers and our consumers is common sense.
Make no mistake, there is a long way to go before this bill passes, but I have come a long way. I am grateful to have the bipartisan support from my Senate colleagues, and look forward to working with anyone who is ready to stand up and stand up for our consumers and producers.