Biden administration finalizes higher standard for ‘Product of USA’ meat label

By Thomson Reuters Mar 11, 2024 | 11:02 AM

By Leah Douglas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday finalized a rule requiring meat, poultry, or eggs labeled as a U.S. product to come from animals born, raised, slaughtered, and processed in the country.

The rule, proposed last March, is a victory for U.S. ranchers who argued for years that use of the voluntary label by companies who raised animals abroad and only slaughtered or processed them in the U.S. was misleading and disadvantaged domestic producers.

“This final rule will ensure that when consumers see ‘Product of USA’ they can trust the authenticity of that label and know that every step involved, from birth to processing, was done here in America,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a statement.

Vilsack announced the final rule at the annual meeting of the National Farmers Union in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Producers using “Product of USA” or “Made in the USDA” labels will need to comply with the rule by Jan. 1, 2026.

The USDA also announced $9.5 million in grants for 42 projects expanding small-scale local meat processing capacity.

The labeling rule and the processing funds are part of a broader suite of USDA actions to enhance competition in the meat industry.

(Reporting by Leah Douglas; Editing by Marguerita Choy)