Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

How Rampant Mislabeling Puts America's Grass-Based Cattle Producers out of Business

Last month, in a petition formally filed with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), two advocacy groups made a stunning claim: Your American grass-fed beef might actually come from overseas, even if it’s labeled “Product of U.S.A.”

Those two groups—the American Grassfed Association (AGA), which offers the country’s leading “grass-fed” certification, and the Organization for Competitive Markets, a watchdog group that fights corporate consolidation in the food industry—point out that a massive regulatory loophole allows companies to falsely, and yet legally, claim their imported beef comes from our pastures.

The trouble began in 2015, when the Obama administration’s USDA rolled back Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for beef and pork products, allowing meat to be sold without disclosing its home country on the label. But that decision, which angered many American ranchers, has further muddied the waters in a way no one quite anticipated.

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