MADE IN THE USA? MAYBE NOT

 

Prior to 2015 the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) Act required retailers to notify their customers of the country of origin of certain commodities.  Covered meat commodities included muscle cuts of beef, lamb, chicken, goat, and pork, as well as ground beef, ground lamb, ground chicken, ground goat, and ground pork.  In 2016, the COOL regulations were amended to remove muscle cut beef and pork, and ground beef and pork from mandatory labeling requirements.

 

UNDERSTANDING MEAT PRODUCT LABELS 

Since 2016, there have been multiple instances of meat producers using the words such as “Made in USA”, or “Product of the USA” which makes the marketplace extremely confusing, with both claims being put on products sourced from animals that were not born or raised in the USA.  The Food Safety Inspection Services (FSIS) defines the words “made” and “processed” as the actual act of harvesting and processing into muscle cuts or ground meat.  As a result, both claims “Made in USA” and “Product of the USA” can be put on any meat product born and raised anywhere in the world if the animal was slaughtered and processed domestically.

The USDA FSIS has strict guidelines prohibiting the use of false or misleading labels, although some meat producers are far from transparent and are good at changing or omitting information to confuse and mislead consumers.  That is why the specific words used on product labels matter.  While “Made in the USA” can appear on any meat package that was simply processed in the United States, meat producers using claims such as “born, raised, and harvested in the USA”, have gone through an FSIS label submission process and have had to provide verifiable documentation supporting these claims. 

 

WHY BUYING DIRECT IS BETTER

If you want to purchase meat that is truly a product of the USA, consider shopping at a local farmer’s market or reputable butcher shop that works with ranchers in your region.  You’ll also find that, more than ever, U.S. meat producers are offering their products online, whether on their own websites or through a cooperative retail business model.  Buying direct from American farmers allows confidence that the goods you order are actually raised and harvested in the USA, while also helping to support a thriving domestic food system, and limiting the environmental impacts of transporting livestock internationally. 

When you order from American Ostrich Farms, you can be assured that all of our products are sourced from animals that have been ethically raised and humanely harvested right here in Idaho.  Each cut of ostrich meat is flash frozen for peak freshness and shipped directly to your door.

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