Meat & Livestock News

USDA Enforces New Meat Labelling Rule and Supports Local Meat Processing


  • The USDA has finalised a rule requiring “Product of U.S.A.” labels on meat to mean the animal was born, raised, slaughtered, and processed in the U.S.
  • $9.5 million was awarded to 42 projects under the Local Meat Capacity grant program to enhance local and regional meat processing.
  • New actions aim to ensure transparency and competitiveness in the U.S. seed industry, supporting small- and mid-size farmers and offering more choices to consumers.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a significant update to meat product labelling standards during the National Farmers Union Annual Convention in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The new rule mandates that meat products bearing the “Product of U.S.A.” label must originate from animals entirely born, raised, slaughtered, and processed within the United States. This move aims to enhance consumer trust in product labelling and ensure the authenticity of U.S.-labeled goods.

In conjunction with this announcement, Vilsack revealed the USDA’s decision to allocate $9.5 million across 42 projects under the Local Meat Capacity grant program. This initiative seeks to bolster the meat and poultry industry’s processing capabilities, thereby benefiting local economies, creating jobs, and providing consumers with more options.

Furthermore, the USDA is set to strengthen the enforcement of disclosure laws in the seed industry, amplifying the farmer’s influence within the patent system.

These efforts align with President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy and the administration’s comprehensive strategy to create a fairer, more competitive, and resilient meat and poultry supply chain. The overarching goal is to foster a more equitable environment for small- and mid-size farmers, reduce grocery costs for consumers, and reinforce local and regional food systems.

Details of the “Product of USA” Final Rule

The “Product of USA” or “Made in the USA” label can now only be applied to meat, poultry, and egg products derived from animals exclusively born, raised, slaughtered, and processed in the U.S. This rule is designed to eliminate misleading origin labels and guarantee that consumers receive accurate information about their food’s provenance.

Supported by petitions, stakeholder comments, and consumer survey data, the rule maintains the voluntary nature of the “Product of USA” label but requires documented evidence to substantiate the claim.

Additionally, the USDA has issued updated guidance on voluntary U.S.-origin label claims, providing examples and documentation requirements to support such claims. This guidance is open for public comment, inviting stakeholders to contribute their insights.

Boosting Local Meat Processing Through Grants

The Local Meat Capacity (Local MCap) grant program, part of a broader $1 billion initiative, aims to enhance the meat and poultry supply chain’s resilience. By offering $9.5 million to 42 projects, the USDA supports the development of local processing options, thereby expanding market opportunities for producers.

This program, funded by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, focuses on small-scale projects to increase processing availability and variety for local and regional livestock producers.

These comprehensive measures by the USDA signify a robust commitment to ensuring fairness in the agricultural market, supporting local economies, and providing consumers and farmers with more choices and better opportunities.