FROM: INDEPENDENT CATTLEMEN OF NEBRASKA
CONTACT: Linda Wuebben, 402-357-3778 or Louis Day, 402-376-1538
IMMEDIATE RELEASE - November 3, 2008
from CEO Day: Concerning the COOL Labeling... or Lack of it
items do the following three labels pertain to: steak or underwear? Made
in the USA, Made in Honduras of USA fabric, or Assembled in Dominican
Republic. For those of you that think all three are underwear labels
Is it not ironic that for years now, we as U.S. consumers
have had the right to know so much about our underwear, but have had to fight
tooth and nail since the 2002 Farm Bill to know where our beef products actually
come from? Well, even after Sept. 30, 2008, we still dont have that right
thanks to the U.S. Department of Agricultures (USDA) clever loophole given
to the large beef processors. In the 2008 Farm Bill, Congress gave specific orders
to the USDA that beef products from USA-born, raised and harvested cattle must
be labeled as such, and all other products must be labeled according to the country
or origin. This is known as country-of-origin labeling, or COOL. Unfortunately,
in writing the Interim Final Rule (IFR), USDA left the large processors a loophole
that if they (the processor) harvested even ONE animal of foreign origin that
day, they could label the whole days run a product of mixed origin!
(Example: Product of Canada, Mexico and the United States.)
years now, it has frustrated and angered many of us who are independent cattle
producers that we are being forced to pay for and promote a generic product while
you as a consumer are being misled by advertising labels in hopes you will believe
you are buying local products. You are not alone! Producers are being misled about
how prices and production numbers are presented by USDA reports covering up packers
use of imports to control supply thus controlling cash-negotiated costs.
We, as cattle producers, have been told that you, as a consumer, only are
concerned with cost, and you dont really care where your food is raised
and processed. If thats true, then this letter is of no value, but I personally
believe you know, or should know, many products banned from our use here in the
U.S. due to those strict standards are still legal for use in the countries we
import from on a daily basis! The record high costs of foreign-produced oil, as
well as control of that supply, and all the tainted and recalled products ranging
from deadly pet food to lead-painted toys p coupled with the USDAs proven
poor record from import inspection, has raised consumers awareness that
a safe and secure, home-grown food supply not only makes good sense, but it a
nationally security issue as well.
We will never be the cheapest
producers. Our labor, fuel, feed, land and living costs will not allow us to be.
Many ranchers in my area can have 10-cents a pound, or higher, tax costs alone
to produce a 500-pound calf. But we are proud of the high quality product we raise
to the best of our ability here in the United States.
If you are
more concerned about the origin of your underwear than your food sources, so be
it. Here in the United State you have that right. But we also have the right to
demand that our national and state representatives and our government agencies
do their jobs just as we do everyday or risk losing their jobs!
The laws and regulations already are in place to make COOL simple, if only
they would be enforced. All live cattle from Canada and Mexico must be marketed
with a permanent CAN or M for health regulations when
imported. Imported processed beef products must have a country-of-origin on the
box to get its USDA Inspection stamp. Live cattle from other foreign countries
can be removed from the J List and receive a permanent marking to
show theyre imported. The same process that records every box shipped to
the retailer because of E-coli concerns also can be used to show origin, if only
the packer and wholesaler will pass along the information.
I, as producers and consumers, have a great responsibility and opportunity in
the outcome of this matter. We told Congress that we wanted the right to be informed.
Congress then told the USDA what its job was in writing and enforcing the rules.
USDA then slapped all of us in the face by refusing to do so.
make a difference, we need your help. Our representatives in Congress have the
constitutional authority and responsibility to start withholding USDA funding
and job security. We have the right to hire and fire those representatives! Also,
as consumers, we have the right to ask our local food suppliers for the ability
to choose USA-born, raised and harvested food for our families.
wouldnt it be COOL if something as simple as steak or underwear would make
us, as consumers and producers, realize that what we allow or tolerate is the
key to the following weeks, months and year of this Democratic Republic?
May the good Lord continue to give us direction and courage as He did for
our founding fathers.
Louis Day, ICON CEO
R-CALF USA Nebraska
About the author: Louis Day is a rancher
from Valentine, Nebraska. Mr. Day is the CEO and a Director for the Independent
Cattlemen of Nebraska. For more information about the author or the Independent
Cattlemen of Nebraska please call Louis Day or log on to http://www.independentcattlemen.com
Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska
as a windmill. Always working for the independent producer."
Mission of the Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) is to protect and promote
the interests of Nebraska's
independent cattle producers. Office of the Organization
is located in Hyannis, Nebraska and membership can be obtained by calling (308)