WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators John Thune (R-SD), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) have announced the American Beef Labeling (ABL) Act on Wednesday, which would reinstate mandatory country of origin labeling for beef (MCOOL).
The current beef labeling system allows imported beef that is neither born nor raised in the United States, but simply processed in the country, to be labeled as a product of the USA. The ABL Act would require the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), with consultation with the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, to develop a World Trade Organization-compliant means of labeling beef that will guarantee the customers to know where their beef is from when buying at the supermarket.
“South Dakota cattle producers work tirelessly to produce some of the highest quality beef in the world,” said Thune in a statement. “The pandemic has only highlighted their important role in our domestic food supply and the urgent need to strengthen it. To ensure the viability of cattle ranching in this country, the system in which producers operate must be fair and transparent.”
The USTR would have six months to develop a reinstatement plan followed by a six-month window to implement it. If the USTR fails to reinstate within one year of enactment, it would automatically be reinstated for beef only.