Myths busted: Meatpackers are STILL lying to you about Country of Origin Labeling

Here’s yet another roundup of lies pushed by multinational meatpackers to misinform the public and protect their billions in profits. 

Check out WORC’s original fact-check on the meatpackers.

WORC supports reinstating mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) for beef. For too long, multinational corporate meatpackers have been able to pull the wool over the eyes of consumers by importing cheap beef from Australia, China, or Brazil, wrapping it in American plastic and calling it “US Beef .” All the while, domestic cattle producers have suffered, as these inferior imported products drive down the price they’re getting for their cattle. According to the USDA, returns per bred cow dropped 83% since COOL for beef was repealed in 2020. According to a poll conducted by Morning Consult, 86% of voters support the American Beef Labeling Act, which would reinstate COOL. Despite this strong bipartisan support, or maybe because of it, the meatpackers have engaged in a concerted effort to fight Country of Origin Labeling (and shelter their profits) by spreading myths about COOL.

Here are the facts.

MYTH: It’s too complicated to define what “US beef” is. There are too many factors to consider while labeling a product’s country of origin.
FACT: It’s very simple, if livestock is born, raised, fattened, and slaughtered in the USA it should bear the marker of “product of the USA”, no exceptions. There is no need to reinvent the wheel: the USA already has strong labeling regulations for lamb, chicken, avocados, apples, clothing, tech and more. When mandatory COOL was law from 2015-2020, the meatpackers complied. Beef should not be an exception to allow for deceptive companies to sneak in cheap foreign beef.

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MYTH: Congress repealed COOL for a good reason in 2015. We can’t have COOL for beef if we are going to keep good trade relationships with Canada and Mexico and stay in compliance with the World Trade Organization. 
FACT: In 2015 Congress had a chance to stand up for American producers and the positive effect COOL had on their bottom lines. Instead, our elected representatives caved to corporate pressure before the US could reach an alternative settlement solution, similar to what the US negotiated with Brazil in 2014. We need our leaders in Washington to stick up for US cattle producers and put in the elbow grease necessary to negotiate a deal with our trade partners.

MYTH: We don’t want the government telling producers what to do, why can’t we allow companies to label their products as they see fit?

FACT: Unless transparent labeling is required at retail, the status quo will continue. Unless companies are compelled to tell the truth, they will cut corners to save a buck. Transparent labeling practices are important because not all beef is raised the same way. US Labor conditions, environmental protections, and disease control measures are head and shoulders above the likes of Brazil and China. These differences matter to American consumers, they have the right to know where their meat is coming from and US ranchers deserve a transparent and fair marketplace where their superior products can compete.

The Western Organization of Resource Councils and our network of powerful grassroots organizations are fighting to reinstate mandatory COOL in Congress! We’ve flown ranchers to Washington DC to hound their representatives, testified in congressional committees, and sent hundreds of postcards to their senators’ offices. But if we’re going to beat the Big 4’s misinformation campaign we’ll need your help! You can support this grassroots action by making a contribution here!

Learn more:

Fact-check: Meatpackers are lying to you about Country of Origin Labeling

Repeal of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) Continues to Cripple American Ranching Operations

Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling is on the horizon with the reintroduction of the American Beef Labeling Act

young rancher with cow

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