Wyoming Congresswoman Harriet Hageman introduced the Country of Origin Labeling Enforcement Act of 2023.
The bill, which is co-led by Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA), seeks to prohibit beef retailers from designating foreign beef as an American-made product by defining US-produced beef as coming from animals “exclusively born, raised, slaughtered, and packaged in the United States.” Processors who do not comply with country of origin labeling requirements will be assessed a fine of $5,000 per pound of beef illegally labeled as “made in the USA.”
Discussing the bill, Congresswoman Hageman stated: “Beef is a key product of the American West, and enhanced country of origin labeling guidance is vital to protecting small-scale farmers and ranchers that must compete with mega meatpacking conglomerates. Clarifying what it means to be ‘made in the USA’ will give consumers greater confidence in what they feed their families, support local farmers and economies, and crack down on deceptive labeling practices by the big four meatpackers.”
“We need to help American farmers who are competing with multi-national meat packing companies that are importing cattle and falsely labeling it as from the United States,” said Rep. Khanna. “The Country of Origin Labeling Enforcement Act will level the playing field for our ranchers and I’m proud to lead this effort with Rep. Hageman.”
In addition to bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, multiple stakeholder groups have applauded this bill, including R-CALF, US Cattlemen’s Association, and Farm Action Fund. “Labels should clearly say where food comes from,” said Joe Van Wye, Farm Action Fund’s policy and outreach director. “We thank Representatives Hageman and Khanna for championing this legislation and we look forward to fighting for its inclusion in the farm bill.”