Beef: Made in the U.S.A.?
9/14/2000-Cattle producers have reached agreement
with meatpackers and the supermarket industry
on a voluntary system for labeling U.S.-produced
beef. Labeling must be approved by the Agriculture
Department, which would have to certify beef
as U.S.-produced. Groups representing cattle
producers, packers, and supermarket industry
filed a petition with the department last
Friday seeking its OK for the system. Cattle
producers, who want to curb cattle imports
from Canada, have been pushing legislation
in Congress for several years to require
beef to be labeled with the country of origin,
but have been unable to overcome opposition
from grocers and packers. Cattle would qualify
as U.S-made so as long as they were imported
at least 100 days prior to slaughter. About
1 million of the 36 million cattle slaughtered
in the U.S. annually were born in Mexico.
USDA officials said they had not yet reviewed
the petition and declined comment Wednesday.