Updated: Feb 20
When one sees a sticker on their beef that says "Product of the USA" you naturally would think it comes from the USA because it says right there on the sticker "Product of the USA." So obviously it's an American product. I am a product of the USA because I was born and raised in the USA. So was Bruce Springsteen. He was so convinced he even wrote a song about it.
But not so fast.
COOL, or Country Of Origin Labeling, is a "labeling law that requires retailers, such as full-line grocery stores, supermarkets and club warehouse stores to notify their customers with information regarding the source of certain foods."
It sounds like a good idea. For instance, you can know whether your avocado comes from Mexico or California because of it's label of origin; the sticker. But in 2015 the COOL law was repealed from beef, pork and turkey. Therefore you the consumer may not know where your beef comes from in the grocery store. But wait... it says "product of the USA" so it must come from the land of the free and home of the brave.....right?
After the repeal of COOL, cows raised in other countries can become a "Product of the USA" as long as it is PROCESSED in the USA. In other words, fattened cattle from other countries are shipped to American beef packers, butchered and given a stamp that says PRODUCT OF THE USA without hardly breathing American air. Large global beef packers lobbied for the repeal of COOL and succeeded.
This is alarming to me as a grass-fed/finished cattle producer. Did you know that 75% of all grass-fed beef sold in the USA is imported from either New Zealand, Uruguay or Australia, but much of it is labeled "Product of the USA"?
I am fine with products from other countries as long as they are not labeled as a product of USA. Foreign beef should be labeled as a product from their own country of origin. All beef is NOT the same as lobbyists for corporate meat packers claim. Different countries have different environmental, production and food safety standards. Countries who are not upholding the same environmental or responsible standards can sell their beef as product of the USA. This is deceiving and it isn't fair to you or the American farmer. We need get informed and become involved.
Consumer awareness of where our beef is coming from is growing. It's a growing concern because of crazy rules like this that are misleading. Consumers who think they are supporting American farmers buy purchasing meat with a "Product of USA" are putting faith into a sticker that doesn't mean a thing.
So how can you know where your beef is from?
Become an informed consumer. Ask questions, read articles, do your research.
Find a farmer and become their friend. Ask questions. Tour their farm and support them. This is why we love to have people come to visit our farm. We love answering your questions. We love connecting your family to the farm. We love showing consumers that there are people out there you can trust. God has given us a unique venue to express who He is through stewarding His land. We don't take this for granted nor do we take you for granted. What you put on your family's table is important to us. We want to give you a honestly grown, great tasting product you can trust. Our cattle are 100% grass-fed/finished, free of antibiotic, hormones, who have lived their entire life on our farm. Our beef is genuinely a product of the USA.
Twogood Grass-Fed Beef: Born and grazed on our farm from birth to butcher.
No sticker required.
resources: *usda.gov, *ourwyominglife.com