Tag Archives: Meat

Billings, Mont. – President Trump announced his nominee to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States, Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh currently sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In 2014, Kavanaugh defended the constitutionality of the U.S. law requiring both domestic and imported beef and pork to be labeled according to where the animal from which the beef or pork was derived was born, raised, and harvested.
The lawsuit against mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) for beef was filed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and its cohorts Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Confederación Nacional de Organizaciones Ganaderas (a cattle trade group in Mexico), National Pork Producers Council, Canadian Pork Council, and four trade groups representing the meatpacking industry.
The NCBA and its domestic and foreign cohorts argued it was unconstitutional for the government to compel them to disclose the origins of domestic or foreign beef because they did not want to disclose such information to the public. They further argued that mandatory COOL was valueless because beef produced in a foreign country is identical to beef produced in the United States. “In short, beef is beef, whether the cattle were born in Montana, Manitoba, or Mazatlán,” the NCBA stated.
In an 80-page opinion, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the NCBA’s and its cohort’s arguments and upheld the constitutionality of COOL. The NCBA appealed the decision and a three-judge panel at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit likewise disagreed with the NCBA and upheld the constitutional finding of the lower court.
Persistent, the NCBA and its cohorts sought an en banc appeal, in which 11 seated Circuit Judges would decide the case. This is where Kavanaugh entered as an ultimate decider of the constitutionality of COOL. In a 9 to 2 decision, with Kavanaugh in the majority, COOL was ruled constitutional. Soon thereafter, the NCBA and its cohorts asked that their case be dismissed.
Kavanaugh wrote a concurring opinion stating that while he supported the majority opinion to uphold COOL requirements for beef and pork, he believed it necessary to spell out each step of his own analysis.
In his analysis, Kavanaugh stated, “Country-of-origin labeling, it is widely understood, causes many American consumers (for a variety of reasons) to buy a higher percentage of American made products, which in turn helps American manufacturers, farmers, and ranchers as compared to foreign manufacturers, farmers, and ranchers. That is why Congress has long mandated country-of-origin disclosures for certain products.”
Kavanaugh concluded that the Government did have a substantial interest in requiring COOL labels on beef and pork to support American farmers and ranchers against their foreign competitors.
Kavanaugh further stated that “a country-of-origin label cannot be considered ‘controversial’ given the factually straightforward, evenhanded, and readily understood nature of the information, as well as the historical pedigree of this specific kind of disclosure requirement.”
R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard said that Kavanaugh’s finding that COOL causes many Americans to buy more American made products was recently reinforced by a ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington that found that cattle producers demonstrated they had suffered financial harm after Congress repealed mandatory COOL.
“Unfortunately, the past Administration and past Congress chose to kowtow to the NCBA and its cohorts and a collection of foreign interests at the World Trade Organization to repeal COOL even after our own judicial system found COOL to be valuable to America,” said Bullard.
“We hope Judge Kavanagh will share his position on COOL with President Trump so U.S. cattle farmers and ranchers can, once again and soon, begin enjoying the benefits of COOL,” Bullard concluded.

A class action lawsuit is accusing Hormel, Tyson Foods, and other meatpacking companies of artificially raising the price of hot dogs, bacon, and other pork products with the help of a company called Agri Stats, an info-sharing service. A Bloomberg report says the complaint was filed by a group of meat buyers in a Minnesota court on Thursday.

The complaint accuses the meat packers of conspiring with the service to exchange “detailed, competitively sensitive, and closely-guarded non-public information.” The buyers claim that the scheme boosted prices by more than 50 percent. The “year-average” price in the hog market was $76.30 in 2015, after being at or below $50 annually from 1998-2009.

Hormel Foods issues a statement saying, “Hormel Foods is a 127-year-old global branded food company with a reputation as one of the most respected companies in the food industry. We are confident that these allegations are completely without merit and intend to vigorously defend this lawsuit.” A Tyson spokesman says they haven’t seen a copy of the lawsuit so they’re unable to comment on it.

WASHINGTON  – Today National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Director of Government Affairs Danielle Beck issued the following statement in response to the Food and Drug Administration’s announcement that they will hold a public meeting on foods produced using animal cell culture technology:

“NCBA looks forward to participating fully in the public meeting, and will use the opportunity to advocate for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversight of lab-grown fake meat products. The Food and Drug Administration’s announcement disregards the authorities granted to USDA under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, as well as USDA’s significant scientific expertise and long-standing success in ensuring the safety of all meat and poultry products. Under the current regulatory framework, FDA plays an important role in terms of ensuring the safety of food additives used in meat, poultry, and egg products. All additives are initially evaluated for safety by FDA, but ultimately FSIS maintains primary jurisdiction.”

Background

According to the FDA, the public meeting is intended to provide interested parties and the public with an opportunity to comment on emerging lab-grown protein technology. The public meeting is not a formal decision and will not prevent USDA from asserting primary jurisdiction.

USDA oversight of lab-grown protein products is consistent with existing federal laws. Lab-grown protein products fall within statutory definitions of a meat byproduct. USDA is responsible for ensuring the safety and proper labeling of all such products under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA).