050636 USA RAISED "Not Just Any Beef" Logo UnveiledJune 30, 2005
Washington - Cattlemen representing stakeholder organizations in the Cattlemen's Competitive Market Project (CCMP) unveiled today the "Not Just Any Beef...USA RAISED BEEF...Ask For It" logo.
A conference, in which the logo was unveiled, underscored the fact that the USDA Inspection Stamp does not guarantee consumers they are purchasing U.S. born and raised beef.
"We're here today to introduce this new promotional initiative for USA raised beef and reinforce American cattlemen's partnership with consumers. This program is designed to increase consumer awareness and to encourage consumers to ask for USA Raised beef at their retail stores," said John Lockie, Montana Cattlemen's Association Executive Director. "U.S. cattlemen want to educate consumers about what the USDA inspection stamp does and does not guarantee. It does not guarantee U.S. beef. Instead, the USDA grade stamp is applied to all imported meat as well as domestic beef. By soliciting consumer involvement and increasing awareness we hope to engage all consumers in demanding mandatory country of origin labeling for all meat products."
"Congress passed mandatory country of origin labeling in the 2002 Farm Bill," added Chris Abbott, President, Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska. "Implementation of the law has been delayed until 2006 through the delay of funding. USDA, the meat packing and retail industries have opposed the law's implementation. We're here today to show consumers how easily a label can be applied to their meat and to urge consumers to demand food labeling implementation."
Also participating in the press conference were beef retailers from Nebraska and Colorado who are displaying the USA RAISED BEEF logo in their retail outlets. "The Canadian BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) crisis certainly changed the choices my customers want to make about their food purchases," said Jeff Christensen, a beef retailer from St. Paul, Nebraska. "The demand for USA RAISED beef by consumers is building across the nation and cattlemen want to meet their demands."
"Consumers deserve truthful transparency from all federal agencies, but particularly from those charged with protection and safety of the food chain," added Chase Carter, Executive Director for the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM). "U.S. cattlemen raise their cattle under the most stringent health and safety standards in the world. The fire walls in place to protect our food chain are working and we stand behind our beef. With that said, we urge USDA to increase, not relax, our meat safety standards. Today, American cattlemen are here in Washington to reach out to consumers and begin a new era of partnership with them. We urge Congress to oppose the Central American Free Trade Agreement. Without mandatory country of origin labeling these free trade agreements will result in higher imports of meat that, unless labeling is implemented, will mean increased imports of foreign meat that will remain unlabeled as to origin in the retail case."
The Cattlemen's Competitive Market Project (CCMP) is a self-help program for U.S. cattlemen, funded through voluntary contributions collected on cattle at the point of sale. Because the program is voluntary, funds may be used to promote USA RAISED (domestically produced) beef where other federally mandated programs cannot.