I Don’t Know Where My Beef is From. That’s Not COOL.


January 19, 2016 by gregrabidoux2013

cool guys grilling

They’d rather be grilling burgers. Oh yeah, watch out for the Canadian griller. Why? Read on.

I am not a, shall we say, beef-a-holic. I even (gasp) tried to “go vegan” once. That was a learning experience. Tofu this, ’nuff said.

Point is, I do enjoy a nice, juicy beef burger once in awhile, maybe even a porterhouse steak (more garlic butter, yes, please!).

But my recent shopping adventure as I hunted for some beef at my local Wal-Mart, Publix, and even WholeFoods stores left a rather unpleasant taste. Seems that when it comes to retailers disclosing what seems to be critical, logical information to we consumer “hunters, gatherers and grillers,” the question becomes, “Where’s the Beef (From)?”

Let’s back away from the grill a moment and um, ketchup a bit on recent news.

In 2002, the US Congress passed, as part of the Farm Bill, a consumer disclosure law that made it mandatory that all retailers had to put a “country of origin label” on all packaged beef, pork, and lamb. Makes sense, right? This way, if you wanted to buy beef from say, Australia, or Peru or even our cousins to the north, Canada, you could. On the other hand, if you wanted, Grade A, UDA inspected, 100% pure American beef you could also just check the label and know that’s what you’d be grilling later that day. (Beef, it’s what’s for dinner, yes).

cool law cow

Hey, you can trust me. Just don’t make me mad.

In 2008 Congress expanded this law to include fresh fruits, nuts and most vegetables. OK, those can be yummy too and I actually look for Costa Rican bananas and Brazilian nuts (sorry, Planters Peanuts).

So far so good. Imagine, elected officials seemingly passing laws that make sense for we, consumers and presidents signing these bills into law. Mrs. Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton feel free to take a bow, the system works.

Whoops, for the love of Washington I may have spoke too soon.

Late last year, about the time we were celebrating the holidays and carving into that USDA prime rib, the GOP led Congress and the DEM dominated White House got together and passed a different sort of bill into a law. (Ok, now I am worried a bit).

Actually they repealed the Country of Origin Labeling Law (COOL). Geez, these folks never get along and this is the one time they pick to play nice?

Seems the not so jolly folks at the World Trade Organization (WTO) threatened retaliatory trade sanctions on the US because, to cut to the bone, they want US consumers to keep buying imported beef, and are you sitting down (?) even if we do not know that is what we are buying. That last part is a quote from a WTO official.

cool law WTO

Looks like the type of logo SPECTRE, the James Bond nemesis, would have.

Really? Can this be? And did everyone know about this and still went ahead and killed the law?

Yep. Pass the um, whatever that meaty-looking substance is from, and cross your fingers.

Think I am exaggerating?

Well, the new lack of labeling law will be phased in over the course of this year, 2016. Which means a couple of things for all you (us) grillmeisters. First, if your beef says something like USDA 100% Pure Beef, this does not mean 100% pure US beef. I spoke with a colleague at the US Cattlemen’s Association. He said that the package of beef you are holding with juicy, burger thoughts in mind can come from as many as 6 different countries, and, as long as about 10% of the beef comes from the US some retailers will legally put a label that says “US Beef.”

cool law beef labels

Take a picture. It will really will last longer than the real thing.

In fact, a few more calls and I was told by a pal who used to work at the US DOA that part of the concern from the WTO was that US beef-buyers were starting to shy away from imported beef because of “bad press” over Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy” (Mad Cow Disease). You think? And that the countries that were most hurt by this were Australia, Canada and Argentina. And do you need a hint as to the three countries that were some of the most vocal in the WTO calling for the repeal of COOL?

Ah, you must have peaked.

So, what of my recent safari to Wal-Mart, Publix and Whole-Foods? Well, it took quite some time, effort, web-based research and even another call to pal who works in the meat industry.

The result?

One, the Big Mac and Fries at your local McDonald’s may now have even more regulations than the beef you buy retail and two, I am about to grill a 2LB package of beef that I am almost certain came from Turkey, Israel, Canada, Mexico and Oklahoma.

You know, on second thought, go ahead and pass me those genetically altered, artificially spray-painted, wax-polished Honey-Apples. I think I just lost my appetite.

fat kid with chicken

Hey kid, didn’t you just read my blog?? Do you know where that came from? Too late.




44 thoughts on “I Don’t Know Where My Beef is From. That’s Not COOL.

  1. Amber T says:

    I had a similar experience and all I can say is read this post and share it!!! I am sick that we have so little info. and control over our own food right here in the good ol’ US of A. broccoli is starting to even look good but who knows where that is from !

  2. Chris R says:

    This is an interesting and I didn’t realize that the bill had been reversed. The interesting aspect to me is the involvement of the WTO. This makes sense in regards to the global trade and their involvement with that. I understand the desire and need for American beef to be purchased, but also can see the importance for the economies of other countries to maintain their import relationship with the United States. The interconnectedness of the global economy causes things like this to make a large impact abroad which not always but can also effect us. I wonder if there is a different way to combat this where honest packaging can be created, and regulations can be globally standardized. This creates an issue with impositions on other countries standards and regulations though which I typically do not encourage. The main takeaway I have from this remains that there is still a standard that America is implementing on the beef sold so there is a consistency in the quality. This is what matters most to me. I totally understand the concern of the packaging and lack of entire information to others however. The concern if there was another mad cow scare in another country is legitimate and I too paid attention until it was cleared up.If there was no way to track the product affected, which doesn’t seem to be a huge problem if the protocols for certification are properly carried out and tracked, this bothers me a little less.

  3. Essence King says:

    WOW! This is really interesting. It’s sad that society gets bent up on Oscar nominations and whose wearing what and doing what that they can’t even take time to read up on politics and laws that literally affect our health and well being. Sadly, I am definitely in that number. The fact that this law was reversed and went under the radar for so long makes me even more untrusting of the government. It seems as if our government’s main qualities and goals have shifted so far away from the good of the public towards the easiest way to get a buck. The welfare of the American citizens seems secondary these days. Thanks for shedding light on this issue and making a platform for others to learn about these issues.

    • Lexis L says:

      You are absolutely right when you say that society puts their focus in the wrong area. Reality television seems to get the most attention. Maybe if the reality stars talked about issues like this then people would be more aware. It is kinda sad to say that. This article definitely made me rethink a lot of the food that I have consumed. You made some good points in your response. It is crazy that they are basically hiding things from the public. It is like they are lying to us just to make a sale. It seems a little selfish and unfair. Our health is the most important thing that we must maintain. We should be aware of what we are consuming before something bad potentially happens.

    • Alesia Willis says:

      My thoughts exactly. People actually got bent out of shape by me commenting that “I couldn’t care less about the Oscars”. There are much bigger issues at hand. Though media images are important, I’m pretty sure FOOD is at the very bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy.

  4. Emily L says:

    I find this article entertaining seeing as this was nowhere to be found on the news. I’m curious as to why the law took over 10 years to reverse. Is the welfare of the US citizens that minute that a threat to increase taxes allows the government to jump when WTO says jump? A mere 10% of beef is required to come from the US in order to be labeled US Beef? That seems to be a bit like entrapment. By mixing up to 6 different countries’ meet together into one, how is it that the US is able to track such break outs, including Mad Cow Disease? I’m not sure what the protocol is in regards to certifying meat, however, it would ease my concerns a bit if the strands of beef were not assorted.

  5. I wish, as a home cook, that we knew much more about where all of our food comes from. It’s not from Kroger in the shrink wrap packages, its from an animal who lives on a farm, etc. I desire to go more and more local lately. That way things are fresher and I know what and from where I’m eating. Thanks for a very topical post!

  6. cmdarden says:

    This is so crazy to me, especially because I am weird about meat as it is. I eat meat don’t get me wrong, I love it but, I am the person who stands there and stares and reads and picks up another and looks again. I’m the person who goes home washes it, inspects it and if it looks slightly ewwie or gross, I chunk it. I don’t care how much money I wasted, if it doesn’t look good I wont eat it. So, for me to not know where the heck it is coming from only drives me more insane. The more we know about all our foods in general the better everything will be.

    • Lexis L says:

      Your response made me laugh! I can relate to inspecting things and if they look slightly questionable I may just toss it. I think you made some good points in your response. This article provided a lot of interesting information. It definitely makes you question everything you have ever consumed. I hope more companies are more selective in what they sell. Nutrition is obviously extremely important. I hope that what they sell in the stores, they would feel comfortable eating as well!

  7. KFitz says:

    For this very reason, my family has bought local beef for years. We have friends who raise cattle and sell us one every year, which we then pay to be transported to the slaughterhouse and then processed. People are not educated about, nor properly terrifed by, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). It can incubate for years and never give any visible indication of its presence and, this is important, is always fatal. While it’s true that cases of BSE have declined significantly, and that FDA regulations were put into place several years ago regarding feed restrictions (BSE is highly transmissible, especially when it’s present in the ground former-cow parts present in feed), accepting beef outside of the US without labeling increases risk IMHO. We can’t police the world and not every cattle-exporting country maintains the same standards and regulations as the US. I actually know several people who QUIT EATING BEEF after the whole BSE kerfuffle in the early 90’s. Seems extreme, I know, but, then again, so is dying from a poisoned Big Mac.

  8. Cal says:

    Maybe we should just go back to Isolationism. Don’t allow any meat from anywhere else, regardless of quality. Let’s control what everyone buys and sells. Let’s quit the WTO and only deal in American goods. Leave the rest of the world to rot from their MCD and be done with it. While we’re at it quit the UN and kick them out of NYC as well. All sounds pretty good, right? 🙂

    – Cal

    • A. Hughes says:

      Right! I know it’s completely impossible at this point but I love the thought of everything being made locally. When I can, I hit up the farmer’s market and hope what they’re selling me is legit. On the other hand I’m a typical consumer when I head to Target and Publix afterwards to grab whatever else I need. It’s tough when you want to do the right things by buying american-made or in season produce only. Whatcha-ya-gonna-do?…. :-/

  9. Savianna T says:

    I surely learned something new and It is mostly because I never paid any attention nor did I care to. It’s crazy to know that what I am eating isn’t really what I think I’m eating especially when you cook these meats for friends and family. Are they informed? Are they going to they we are trying to poison them? I’m kidding, but no really. Who thought it was ok to say It was made in the U.S. just because of 10 percent? Doesn’t majority rule? In my opinion, our whole country is about deceiving and profit. I honestly wouldn’t expect no more and no less. Everything we eat, and I mean EVERYTHING at this point is harmful to our bodies. We might as well start fishing and killing our own meat. Wait, that won’t work either because animals are being injected with and fed steroids or some other unhealthy substance to produce more of whatever they produce for profit reasons. =( What can you do at the point?

    • Lexis Lloyd says:

      I completely agree with you! I rarely never paid attention either. I just basically assumed that if they were selling it, then it had to be okay. This article definitely changed my opinions on that! It seems like some of the companies are just lying to us! It is so deceitful and unfair that they get away with this. You made another good point in regards to how some of the animals are being injected with steroids. This is just as bad. I feel like they make it so difficult for people to eat healthy. So if people want organic products then they are forced to pay twice as much! Seems a little unfair. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic! I could really relate to some of the things you discussed.

  10. Dylan G says:

    All that I have to say about this is, wow! As an avid griller and eater of meat, this news sure puts a damper on my carnivorous ways. I guess I may start leaning towards a diet that is much heavier in fruits and vegetables. The fact that our country has given into the desires of the WTO makes this that much harder to swallow, no pun intended. And the sad part is that the intentional trickiness of the wording of labels will aid in disguising the true origin of meats. I mean, I was not aware of the fact that only 10% of the beef had to be American for the label to read 100% USDA pure beef. I was under the impression that my purchase was American beef, as are many other individuals who buy their beef products off this labeling. At least 10% of my burger came from an American cow. After first reading this blog, I was a bit surprised that our government is in the middle of this situation. But, then again, I guess I should not be truly surprised by this coming to light. Our ties to an organization as large and influential as the WTO goes way back, and their influence on our decisions can be very powerful. It seems that there are more and more stories of various food products that are potentially unhealthy for us to eat. Yet, it is hard to make an informed decision on what to put into our bodies when we don’t even know the true origin of the meats we purchase. I have become more and more of a hunter gatherer of late, trying my best to combat the situation. Growing as much of my own produce and providing meat for my family through hunting is essential to help combat the situation that we are now faced with. Of course, the day will come when the government begins regulating this practice to a point that it is not feasible as well. But for now, I am going to continue filling my freezer up while I still can. And when this is not a doable option anymore, I will revert back to my 10% American ribeye. Nothing screams USA like a hamburger that is made of beef from 5 different countries.

  11. Lexis L says:

    Such an interesting post! It is definitely scary to be unaware of certain ingredients that we as humans are constantly consuming day in and day out. I do not have any food allergies, so I typically don’t even read the label for ingredients. Occasionally, I’ll check the calories but that is about it. I just assumed that what I eat is okay for me in the sense of ingredients and maybe not as much as calorie intake! After reading this blog, I will know be inspecting each label to check for the ingredients. It is important that the company is upfront with the customers. This establishes a sense of honesty and will allow a customer to come back. I think there are some people out there that truly do not care what they put in their bodies; while others are very aware of what they consume. I can’t help but think about fast food restaurants selling hamburgers that are made up of different cows from different places. Yikes! It is important to fuel our bodies with the right food. Fresh ingredients are so important. This article really has me second guessing a lot of the meat that I have consumed. I’ll definitely be more aware and selective when purchasing beef in stores!

    • Jessica L. says:

      You should try looking into local farms that sell meat. There seems to a resurgence of local community agriculture. My husband and I buy our meat (pork and beef) from our friend’s farm. She raises organic animals. We buy our vegetables from a local farm outside of our town. It’s doable to know that it’s local and organic as well as supporting the local community. You should look into a CSA (community supported agriculture) in your area if you’re worried about where your food comes from!

  12. Dustin H. says:

    We are becoming more aware of our food choices, from labeling of sources to forcing fast food joints to indicated nutrition facts. I see this as a good movement, but know that some people will find more use for it than others. Would I find seeing where my meat is exactly from as progress? I’m not sure. As long as the meet has met quality standards, why would I care where it is from? Then again, basically everything else we use in our daily lives is labeled with its source. I would certainly err on the side of labeling, and find it unfortunate the requirement has been overturned.

  13. David Pittsenberger says:

    I don’t really see too much of an issue of this. Of course, I eat all my beef well done and that takes care of almost everything except the prions of mad-cow. I know you don’t want us linking here but there was a very good article on food safety recently by someone who had been involved with litigating cases in the past and working with the CDC, FDA, etc on outbreaks including the one were several children died from eating jack in the box several years ago. He listed a short list of things he didn’t eat. One of those was beef that wasn’t well done. The main reason, salmonella. Not e coli. The beef industry lobbied and complained about the level that was acceptable of that organism and whether it could be considered an adulterant if it was naturally occurring etc. Of course, cooking it all the way will take care of that problem. I think there are a lot bigger issues in our food system than the one that you describe above.

  14. A. Hughes says:

    I’m dying over here! You made such a grim topic comical. PS loved the ketchup pun. Also, I did the vegan thing twice and remember what triggered each instance. The first vegan experience was after I read, Chew On This; the second was after watching Food, Inc. and Vegucated back to back. Now thanks to your blog post I’m going on vegan-kick number three. Ha! I kid, I eat too many carbs when I’m going “vegan”.

    On a real note WTF WTO. No wonder so many countries poke fun at our expense. Like you wrote, of all the times for GOP and DEMS to get along it had to be over this policy?… I love food! Instead of saving for a fun vacations or buying new clothes I chose to spend my extra money on nice dinners or fun recipes. Also, if the government is spending so much trying to get health care in order shouldn’t they be concerned what we are putting in our bodies?… It seems kind of counterproductive, right?

    I can’t believe only 10% of our beef is from the US, that’s just as bad as shrimp. (…for that reason I’m happy we live by the coast, well, as long as the shrimp is not coming from St. Johns River or around the Kings Bay base, ekk!)

    For the first time last week I read something about lab produced meat called, shmeat… I love the thought of futuristic food options but… but… it’s not real! I don’t know much about this synthetic meat product but I hear horror stories about genetically modified foods so I’m immediately turned off from the idea…

    Excuse me while I go stress eat a hamburger… ☺

  15. Victoria J says:

    Wow! This is an interesting and insightful blog on the meat industry. Honestly, I had never really given much thought to where my meat comes from. In retrospect now I can’t believe I haven’t paid closer attention before. Seems as times go by everything is becoming genetically modified and I would think monitoring meat would be a priority on the list of things to watch out for. With the constantly growing interest in organic and veagan food its surprising that a repeal decision such as this would be passed in the US. It’s quite sad that I won’t be able to trust that the meal i am preparing for my family is safe for them to eat.

    Thanks for sharing.

  16. Jessica L. says:

    To be honest, this doesn’t surprise me. For a long time, I didn’t really care where my food came from but once you read more into the food industry and practices, it’s a wonder people eat anything from the grocery store at all. We don’t really eat meat in our home but when we do we buy local meat from our friend’s farm in Griffin, GA. The repeal of COOL seems like another step to keep consumers in the dark about the food industry and where our food comes from.

    Like some of the posters who are nervous about food now, buy local! You’re not only supporting your community but you have a better idea of where it came from.

  17. James A says:

    Wow… I am not sure how to react to this news. I agree that knowing where your food comes from is important but on the flip side I am sure much of the other food I purchase comes from all over as well.

    There is also the issue of supply and demand; can the U.S. produce enough beef to feed all of its citizens (cost effectively)?

    I guess the biggest question for me is, How do we know the meat is safe, clean, and meets certain quality standards? Although I just assume the quality standards in the U.S. are up to par but when food of any kind randomly shows up on our border do we just assume all is well? It is a scary thought!

  18. Welch says:

    I like also enjoy a good steak. The COOL law that used to be in effect was a boon for consumers. Americans are big on wanting to know what we are eating and where it came from. Many of us take pride in supporting the US economy by “buying local.” The repealment of that law due to outside pressures is typical of global political/economical machinations. The fact that there are loopholes in the labeling of these meats will make Americans distrust the food industry even more. I like steak but I enjoy a lot of different foods. My time in Brazil led to me try many different things that I found were good even if I never thought I would like them, like chicken hearts. Part of me says “who cares what kind of meat it is as long as it tastes good.” No matter what it it is, it did pass a meat inspection to be graded before being sold. The other part of me screams that I have a right to know what I am eating so that I can make an informed choice about whether I want to or not. While I have eaten many things, there are still things like rat, dog and cat that I just am not willing to try yet. Maybe this is just making a mountain out of a molehill. Remember back in the 90’s when everyone swore that Wendy’s hamburgers were made from earthworms? That was proven false. If public outcry is overwhelming, meat distributors may find a way around the repealment of the COOL law to indicate the country of origin of the meat.

  19. Meg Giddings says:

    I recently had a ‘turning point’ experience which has forever altered the way that I view, purchase, and consume red meat, poultry, and virtually any food. While traveling to a conference two years ago, I had the opportunity to sit beside a very pleasant gentleman. We struck up the typical conversation – where are you headed? what do you do? etc. In the two hours that followed I learned that he was a poultry farmer traveling for work. During our time together, I learned a number of horrific facts that I will withhold in order to preserve the stomachs of all readers, but one things has stuck with me from that conversation, “Oh no, I make it a practice to never eat poultry or meat across the grocery counter. The best most can do it purchase organic. It’s better, but the standards still aren’t where you would like them to be.” Since that day I have eliminated pork entirely and will only purchase organic poultry and locally sourced ground beef. The taste, texture, size, and composition is entirely different. Every once in a while we go out to eat, and I will make an exception, but to be honest, I will never eat chicken without remembering some of the stories that horrified me on the plane that day.

  20. Alesia Willis says:

    So the choices are: Deal with a billion dollar sanction or deal with mad cow disease. Much like the citizens of Flint whose choices were pay for expensive water or deal with lead poisoning. This is what happens when our Government gets so consumed with the public budget and cutting spending and forgets the motivation should be to see about the welfare of its citizens. Maybe I missed the coverage (and I watch the news a lot), but where is the outrage?? And what’s a billion dollars? We spend more on wars that have little or nothing to do with us.

    • Rhonda G says:

      The article was informative and enlightening but not surprising. I’m an individual that cleans meat three times or more because of all the warnings we received through the news. Daily there is something new that scientists have reached a conclusion contributes to some illness. The fact the government were able to comprise and not be concerned with party lines to make sure trade endorsements were not lost isn’t surprising. Money can bring both evil and unity. The deceit that if a portion of the process for the meat took place in America a label can be placed on the package, “made in America”. Not cool. I feel that we are due the decency of knowing where our food is made and processed. I would rather had a long label with every country listed than lies to make profit. Food consumption is extremely important and with deceit such as this we honestly aren’t truly aware what we are eating.

  21. Laura says:

    Disturbing, yet interesting, article. I’ve questioned meat, in general, for years. The support for Farm to Table is growing in popularity across the country. Not only does it allow us to identify our meats origin and processing techniques, but it supports local farmers. How cool is that? And who would not prefer fresh meat over mystery meat any day of the week??

  22. A Blackwell says:

    Now this is some scary stuff! A package of meat from six different countries! It makes me curious about the transport, mixing, and packaging process. The whole story raises so many questions…most frankly disturbing. I’m curious on how the average consumer will respond when the labels disappear, if they even notice at all. Its kinda sad but many people want their beef and they don’t care where it comes from as long as it tastes good and has a USDA seal on it (sometimes that can go by the wayside too). I’m thinking on going on a chicken and fish diet…but with the way things are they aren’t the safest things either.

  23. Hampton Raulerson says:

    It seems silly that the U.S. government would fold on an issue like this. It’s not as though they were placing a tariff on imported beef. I hate to bring Donald Trump into this but actions like this are why he has so much support. It is a little disheartening that our government is allowing itself to be bullied and not standing up for something as simple as letting us know where our food is coming from. I do find this odd as i currently work in the freight business where I see China, Vietnam along with other countries plastered on the sides of shipments. If i can know where my TV was made, why can’t I know where my burger is from?

  24. jkhamman says:

    The U.S. government goes back on a good decision to make a bad decision. It is a good idea to put the country the meat is from. This allow consumer choice of what they want to buy. Now it only has to have a small percentage from a location to be from that location. This allows people to lie about where they are from. We need to have strict guidelines on are food.

  25. I truly wish we could get back in this country to farm to table: locally sourced food. Many areas have such rich farmland. And we are so spoiled eating foods out of season. I like the way of eating in season and what is available. I don’t think we can ever get there, but with foodies and the like being so popular now, we do have a resurgence of produce stands, markets, etc.

    • Lauren Harrell says:

      I feel the same way. We have recently started purchasing beef from local providers at either Grady Ranch Farms https://www.gradyranchfarms.com/ or White Oak Pastures http://www.whiteoakpastures.com/ . I actually ended up spending the night at White Oak last year as a field trip of sorts. It was VERY interesting and enlightening to tour their facility and discover how natural beef and chicken can really be (as compared to purchasing “pink slime” at other local grocery stores). The truth is, we don’t know what we are putting into our bodies if we don’t know where it is coming from and how the animal is raised.

  26. Jalesa W says:

    This blog is very interesting. It makes me think about a recent article I read about some of the meat in this country. The NFL has issued a warning to its players about meat from places like Mexico and China could cause them to test positive on a drug test. These meats from these particular places are being injected with steroids. It’s amazing that the FDA hasn’t given the general public a warning, but the NFL has warned it’s players. Hmmmm, wonder why this isn’t newsworthy.

  27. Mary says:

    I happened to be shopping at a Rouse’s Grocery store in Houma, LA while living there prior to moving back to Valdosta and attending VSU. While inspecting meat, I noticed that there was a whole section devoted to meat from “Japan” and I’m not referring to the famed Kobe beef. I was really surprised and became angry the more I thought about it. I’m originally from the mid-West and some of the best beef in the world hails from that region of the U.S. Why oh why would we purchase beef that we know nothing about rather than supporting our own U.S. farmers? Our government, in its infinite wisdom, along with big business, has sadly brought about the death of the family farming operation. It’s a travesty but par for the course and says a whole lot about our Washington leaders. Go figure.

  28. A. Luke-Morgan says:

    As a farmer’s daughter (I could be considered a beef snob because I only eat our homegrown beef) and also having been active in policy analysis related to peanuts in the 2002 Farm Bill this is a very interesting post! COOL had the potential to do for US agriculture what the Certified Angus marketing program has done for the Angus breed of cattle. However, with the globalization of our markets today and U.S. consumers’ demand for a low cost food supply, COOL was not feasible. What has happened in many states, instead, is a tremendous push from the locavore movement with state marketing initiatives where products are labeled as “Georgia Grown” or “Fresh From Florida”. This gives consumers valuable information while giving the producer a value-added product. It is important to note that these programs are often not as heavily regulated as a program that would originate from USDA.

  29. T. Hogan says:

    Great blog post, something I/we don’t think about enough. And of course trade agreements will have a . For other countries I can see why you wouldn’t want the 100% USDA label, especially after the health scare associated with beef and other food products from other countries. For the US government, if they didn’t break any trade agreement laws, why wouldn’t you want your citizens to know where food products come from, especially after the aforementioned health scares. With that, if other countries start labeling their products homegrown I’m sure the US would take some offense to that. In the end safety and open communication should outweigh everything else for the US government, sure they would have lost money from the trade agreement, but at least your consumers know what they are buying and where they are buying it from.

  30. Connor Stanton says:

    This is definitely a great post. As people we really need to be aware of what we are putting into our bodies. I feel that it is extremely important for the companies to be 100% honest with what they are putting into the packaged foods. If they aren’t and the FDA regulations are allowing this to slip by, then is food becoming the new supplement industry in this sense? Some would and probably already have said that we need to just close our borders to imported products like beef because this will ensure that we are only getting beef from the the US. However this is a false hope because economically this is not possible for our country at the moment and most likely will never happen. On top of that if many of these people saw how US commercial cattle are feed and treated up to the time they are brought to the slaughter house it would drastically change how they feel about that.

  31. valdostaphil says:


    That ending was pretty epic. Well done.

    I carpool with a vegan of extreme intelligence. We have some interesting conversations, but they haven’t ventured to this point yet. He’d have a field day with this information. I think the response that a lot of people would have would be that they just don’t care. (Remember the pink slime brouhaha?) But I personally kind of do care, so I won’t go there.

    I like consumer awareness. “Buyer beware” is simply an impossible standard in this day and age. No one has the time to do all the research on everything they buy from cars to ladders to beef. Consumer reports can only do so much. Regulations on things like this are what protect everyday citizens from greedy money-grubbing corporations who move their corporate headquarters out of the U.S. for tax purposes, only answer to their shareholders, and can’t see any farther into the future than this quarter’s profit report. For that matter, America’s FDA should be split into two completely separate federal agencies and they should both be at least the size of the current FDA all by themselves. At a minimum.

    But good luck with getting that accomplished, particularly with all our legislators basically living in fear of not being reelected because they hope to retire from that job because as I’ve said elsewhere, there are no term limits. If a D or R strays from the flock, they get opposed by Koch money in a primary and lose to someone else who the big donors are sure will know their place when they get to Washington. So I guess we’re stuck with unlabelled meat and all non-policy makers (like myself) are just doomed to the random chance of the universe.

    End Corporate Rule.

    • valdostaphil says:

      The new Food Administration and Drug Administration should also have the enforcement authority to shut down entire companies at zero notice until they come into compliance with federal regulations. We’re far, far, far, too soft on corporations.

  32. James M S says:

    Over the past two years I’ve really started paying attention to what foods I put in my body. Moving towards more natural/organic foods that my body will breakdown and absorb. I’m disturb that our federal government repealed the COOL Law that allowed us to see a portion of where our food came from. Mostly from pressure of the WTO, who’s more concerned with the citizens of the United State? Evidently it’s not our federal government, I was aware of the law that required to label beef products. But I had no idea that you could label beef USDA 100% with only 10% of actual U.S. beef. Ridiculous, I thought I knew what I was eating. Beef markets overseas is less regulated which allows beef prices to be cheaper. I would much rather pay more for my beef knowing its healthier than skimp on the price and receive an unhealthily product.

    The federal government is suppose to protect the citizens and set forth guidelines to keep the safety net up. If their allowing loop hole like this, there’s no telling whats in the beef much less any other food. At the end of the day, the economy will win. As this would have to be one of the reason why this law was repealed.

    The main question, is why doesn’t the federal government want us to know what we are eating. If they didn’t have anything to hide, why wouldn’t they allow this to be put on the label? Mostly with the health concerns in other countries in regards to food. Why would the U.S. accept foods from other counties that had health concerns due to their beef. I strongly agree with this article and it has opened my eyes even more. If the federal government doesn’t care about the quality of beef in the U.S., then whats next? At the end of the day, the federal government needs to tighten their standards and have the citizen best interest in mind.

  33. Taylor B says:

    Wow, wow, wow! The fact that only 10% of the beef has to come from the US is disturbing. I’m sure other countries have less regulations on their meat than America. So who knows what we are getting. I think it is interesting that Mcdonalds has more regulations than the meat in our retail! All these movies that are coming out are exposing the lack or regulations and the treating of animals which is leading people to may more attention to their food. More and more people are going organic, vegetarian or vegan. The more these meat producers get exposed the more people will pay attention!

  34. Amanda Ellzey says:

    An eye-opening article for sure! It is sad that we, the American people, do not know where our food is coming from. It is even worse that the country we live in is okay keeping facts away from us.

    The statement about 100% USDA beef is actually only 10% USDA gives me mix feelings. On one hand, I’m not surprised because the United States allows other meals to be served that other countries deem uneatable (example: Hungry Man freezer meals) and unfortunately the government, who teams up the pharmaceutical companies, profits off obesity and other weight-gaining conditions. On the other hand, I am kind of shocked that 100% can total 10% in reality when it comes to beef. Why even put the sticker on the package?

    The move I dive into PA issues, it seems the government is not out for the people, but more for themselves. I think that is why “clean” diets like Paleo, Whole 30, and Vegan are becoming incredibly popular in the United States. Thanks to the internet, citizens are becoming more aware of the falsities set forth by the government and are taking matters into their own hands.
    Every time a shopper turns around the have to question the nutrition label. Which is not fair by any means. Why do you think we hear so many stories about people who are diagnosed with cancer completely change their diets and become cancer-free or the cancer disappears drastically? Our bodies are not made to eat all the proceed foods that are offered these days.

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