Meat Labels to Show Origin, Slaughter Locations

Staff Writer
The USDA's COOL labeling provision is fully in place
New labels should tell you where your meat was born, raised, and slaughtered.

Locavores, rejoice: Now, every meat product purchased in grocery stores should have the locations where said meat was born, raised, and slaughtered. So if your beef is domestic? The label will read "Born, Raised, and Slaughtered in the United States." Similarly, meats imported specifically for slaughter will read, "Born and Raised in Canada, Slaughtered in the United States."

And if the product is born, raised, and slaughtered all outside of the United States? The label will simply read "Product of [Country of Origin]."

The new labeling measures in the Country of Origin Labeling rule, implemented in May 2013, have reached the end of their grace period. The United States Department of Agriculture gave meat companies until Nov. 23 to use up older labels, while the Agricultural Marketing Service conducted an "industry education and outreach program."

If older labels are used after Nov. 23, the rule states, the additional information must be provided through other means (i.e. signage), the ruling states, but otherwise expect beef, veal, pork, lamb, goat, and chicken products (not to mention fish and shellfish) to boast labels tracking their geographical life story.

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