In response to two petitions, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced that intends to conduct rulemaking to change its policy toward “Product of USA” claims for meat and poultry products, with an apparent objective of limiting the scope of products eligible for the claim.
Recently, FSIS announced that the Agency had completed its review of two Petitions submitted on behalf of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) (the USCA Petition) and the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) and American Grassfed Association (AGA) (the OCM/AGA Petition). The USCA, OCM, and AGA are national organizations representing the cattle industry, farmers and consumers in the agricultural markets, and grassfed meat producers, respectively. Both the USCA and OCM/AGA Petitions requested that FSIS amend its policy to limit voluntary “Product of USA” claims on beef products to only products made from cattle that have been born, raised, and slaughtered in the U.S. In response, FSIS concluded that its current labeling policy “may be causing confusion in the marketplace, particularly with respect to certain imported meat products” and indicated it would initiate a rulemaking to define voluntary “Product of USA” claims.” Although FSIS technically denied the Petitions, the promise of future rulemaking appears aimed at satisfying the Petitioners’ core requests.
This post briefly summarizes the petitions and FSIS’s planned rulemaking. FSIS has not yet issued a proposed rule and has not indicated when it plans to do so.