Why Imported Meat Can Be a "Product of the USA"

The label claim "product of the USA" on meat packaging... Most would think this means the animal was raised in America.. right? 
Here is what it means for beef and pork in America: as long as the animal was cut up in the USA, it can use the label "product of the USA". For example the animals can be raised in Urugary, slaughtered in Uruguay, and then the carcass shipped to the USA to be cut into steaks can be labeled a "product of the USA",  since the animal was cut up in America. 
Currently, 75-80% of America's grass fed beef is imported - but because of this little known loophole, will usually bear a "product of the USA" stamp. 
 
Top it off with the fact that the USDA no longer regulates the Grassfed claim. Make sure to do ample research of the producers before you switch to "grassfed", because realistically you may be buying "grassfed" beef from Australia labeled as "product of the USA" - that may not really even be grassfed.
 
On the chicken side of things, raw or frozen chicken raised in China cannot be imported, but cooked chicken can be. Unless you want "made in China" chicken nuggets, you may want to double check the package.
 
As consumers, it's our responsibility to do the research. When it comes down to it, the best way to know what you're buying, is to know who you're buying it from. Trust and transparency.
If you are curious to read further on the labeling of "Product of the USA" and Grassfed beef, check out the two articles below. 
 
Looking for a source of America (Texas specifically) raised grassfed beef and want to start a conversation? contact me at catherine@1915farm.com or visit our website:
 
 
Catherine

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