No foreign meat stamp

USDA wants to stop putting quality grades, such as prime, select or choice, on imported beef and other meat. U.S. meat producers strongly support the measure, while some meatpackers and countries like Australia and Canada want the grading practice continued.

According to a USDA official, the proposal will “assure U.S. consumers that the USDA grade shield appears only on meat products from livestock slaughtered in the United States.” It is accepting comments until mid-April. The current practice of putting quality grades on imported meat leads people to assume the beef was raised in the United States, agreed the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. In an effort to curb imports, the association has worked out an agreement with meatpackers and the supermarket industry for a voluntary system whereby domestic beef would be labeled “Made in the USA.” USDA must approve this new system before it can take effect.

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