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USDA finalizes strict "Product of USA" meat labeling rule

By Farms.com

The USDA has issued a final rule on "Product of USA" labeling, setting a new standard for meat products in the United States. By January 1, 2026, only meat from animals that have been born, raised, harvested, and processed within the U.S. will qualify for this designation. This rule aims to clear up consumer confusion about the origin of their meat, ensuring that labels accurately reflect the meat's journey from farm to table.

Meatpackers, while not obliged to label their products as "Product of USA," must now provide evidence if they choose to use this or similar claims. This rule is designed to boost consumer trust but does not apply to meat exports, which will continue to adhere to destination country labeling regulations.

The regulation raises concerns about the future of U.S. trade relationships, especially with Canada and Mexico. The NPPC has warned of possible disputes under international agreements like the WTO and USMCA, fearing impacts on the agricultural sector and exports.

As the USDA enforces this rule to enhance label transparency, the meat industry and trade partners are preparing for potential shifts in supply chains and market dynamics. This rule signifies a significant step towards consumer clarity but navigates complex international trade waters.


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