July 11, 2018
Food Safety and Inspection Services
United States Department of Agriculture
Patriots Plaza 3
1400 Independence Avenue SW
Mailstop 3782, Room 8-163A
Washington D.C., 20250-3700
Re: Petition for change to the Food Safety and Inspection Services Standards and Labeling Policy Book on “Product of U.S.A.”
Dear Docket Clerk,
Recently the American Grassfed Association filed a petition regarding the Food Safety and Inspection Services Standards and Policies regarding country of origin labeling. We want to profess our strong support of this petition.
Our company works closely with and depends on over 60 American family farmers who raise grass fed and finished beef across 10 states. The current language in the FSIS Policy Book directly hurts these American farmers, allowing imported grass fed beef to pose as American-raised. This language is confusing to consumers and denies farmers who truly are raising cattle here in the United States a chance to capitalize on a growing market segment.
When our system is set up to support imported grass fed beef sales over domestic grass fed and finished beef, our country is not only losing out on the economic benefits, it is losing out on environmental benefits as well.
Farmers employing sustainable raising methods, like the producers with whom we partner, prevent pollution from entering our waterways and help restore our nation’s natural grasslands. Properly grazed pastures prevent soil erosion, filter nitrogen and phosphorus from entering waterways, and remove atmospheric carbon from the air.
However, if American family farmers continue losing out on sales to imported grass fed beef because foreign producers are allowed to use the label “Product of USA,” the American people will lose out on these important environmental benefits.
We envision a sustainable beef industry where American family farmers are rewarded for raising practices that take care of our natural ecosystems here in America. Please help us break down a major barrier to achieving this by changing country of origin labeling standards to make it more transparent to consumers where their grass fed beef is coming from.
Owner and CEO,
Strauss Brands, Inc