Most grass-fed beef labeled “Product of U.S.A.” is actually imported from overseas.
But you wouldn't know that, thanks to a U.S. Department of Agriculture labeling policy.
It’s time to change that policy—for the sake of both consumers and U.S. producers of grass-fed and grass-finished beef.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Stop the Labeling Fraud! Support the U.S. Beef Integrity Act!
If you’re like most consumers, you choose grass-fed beef because of its health benefits. When you choose grass-fed beef with a "Product of U.S.A." label, you also assume that you're supporting U.S. ranchers.
Unfortunately, that's probably not the case. Most grass-fed beef sold in the U.S. is imported from outside the U.S.—yet much of it still gets a "Product of U.S.A." label.
How can that be? It's because the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Services Agency allows the use of the “Product of U.S.A.” label on any beef as long as the meat passed through a U.S.-based inspection plant, and/or was blended with meat from animals that were born and raised in the U.S.
In order to close this labeling loophole, Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced the U.S. Beef Integrity Act. (In the meantime, to avoid “Product of U.S. A.” labeling fraud, you can buy direct from a certified American Grassfed producer near you.
Good for you, good for the planet
Grass-fed and grass-finished beef is better for your health, and clearly better for animals.
It’s also better for the planet.
Beef from industrial factory farm feedlots has a gargantuan carbon footprint. The combined emissions of the top five beef companies are on par with those of ExxonMobil.
Grass-fed beef done right can actually be a climate solution. (Watch Soil Carbon Cowboys or Allan Savory’s TED Talk to learn more).
Grass-fed beef from just about anywhere on the planet is better than factory farmed feedlot beef, even—or especially—when that feedlot beef is local. No one wants to live near a beef feedlot. Not unless they want to be exposed to polluted water and fouled air that doesn’t just stink, but contains toxic gases and vapors, as well as floating bits of “fecal matter, feed materials, skin cells, and products of microbial degradation of feces and urine” that can be small enough to inhale and thick enough to coat everything they touch with a layer of grime.
But if you care about the environment, you also don’t want grass-fed beef that’s been imported from Brazil.
Why? About 90 percent of the beef produced in Brazil is grass-fed. But contrary to that being a good thing, raising beef cattle in Brazil is actually the No. 1 driver of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.
So, when you buy that grass-fed beef in the U.S., fraudulently labeled “Product of U.S. A.” you’re not only not supporting a U.S. farmer or rancher, you’re helping to destroy the Amazon.
We need to boycott companies like JBS that are passing their Amazon-destroying Brazilian beef off as a “Product of the U.S.A.”
But we can’t do that, unless we close the “Product of U.S.A.” labeling loophole.