Family Farm Action Alliance submitted public comments on the proposed Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rule that sets out standards for product labels using “Made in the U.S.A.” (MUSA) or equivalent claims. The Commission’s proposal would codify their current MUSA Labeling Rule, and enforce a civil penalty to those that make intentionally fraudulent MUSA label claims. This rulemaking is imperative to deter deceptive claims currently made in meat and meat product labeling in an already complex food labeling landscape.
“With the loss of Country of Origin Labeling for beef and pork meat and meat products by the Congress in 2015 and USDA Secretary Perdue’s continued allowance of imported meat products to be re-wrapped and marked as “Product of U.S.A.,” it is time somebody in Washington D.C. stood up for independent farmers and ranchers. We see this FTC proposed rule as an opportunity to do just that, as 15 USC § 45a grants FTC specific authority to establish rules governing ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ label claims. We are simply asking the FTC to utilize fully its congressional grant of authority,” stated Joe Maxwell, President and CEO of Family Farm Action Alliance.
Family Farm Action Alliance supports FTC’s ingredient origin standard’s language of “all or virtually all” contained in the proposed rule for non-meat products. However, we strongly request FTC takes the next step, and require the entirety of any meat or meat product under a MUSA label be 100% U.S. “born, raised, and harvested,” not just “sourced.” As written now, the proposed rule could allow a beef or pork animal born and raised outside of the U.S., and then imported and harvested in the US, in compliance with the “sourced” standard and the MUSA label. Without the language change, it would be no better than USDA’s known meat country of origin loophole, and must be addressed in the upcoming rulemaking.
Family Farm Action Alliance commends the FTC’s efforts to clarify MUSA label claims. We look forward to working toward a rule that supports independent farmers and ranchers – something that is long overdue from USDA’s FSIS.