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The #1 Secret Beef Companies Don't Want You To Know

You can't always believe what's on the label.

On a trip to the grocery store, you've probably seen packages of beef labeled "Product of the USA." The sticker on the shrink wrap boasts an American flag, and it seems that it is indeed something made in the United States. 

But what if that wasn't the case at all? Would you be surprised to learn that your steak may have been raised and processed all the way in Brazil or New Zealand?

Mislabeling beef products that weren't actually raised and processed in the United States is actually a common practice, according to a recent report from Food and Wine.

Related: 6 Things You'll See at Costco This Year

opening ground beef package

Currently, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is allowed to label "Made in the USA" on beef and pork products even if the animals have been imported from a foreign country but processed in the United States. "Product of the USA" labels may also exist on beef and pork that have been imported from a foreign country and repackaged in the United States. 

Because of this, farm advocates are supporting the American Beef Labeling Act, which would prevent beef from being labeled as a "Product of the USA" unless it came from cows that were born, raised, and processed in the United States. The act was introduced last September, where it was then referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

Now, the USDA is conducting a national survey to see whether this is an issue that Americans care about. According to the Federal Register, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) wants to know via a web-based survey to help gauge consumer awareness and understanding of the current "Product of the USA" labeling claims on beef and pork products. 

Consumers can take the survey and leave a formal comment on the Federal Register's website. As of publication, around 50 people had submitted public comments about the issue. The comment period for the survey ends on Monday, April 4. 

"Born, raised, and harvested in the USA must be a requirement if FSIS truly wants informed American consumers," a representative from Veterans Brand Beef said in the public comments. "A steer born, raised, and harvested in Brazil cannot be considered 'Product of the USA.'" 

For more grocery industry secrets, check out The #1 Secret Seafood Companies Don't Want You To Know.

Kristen Warfield
Kristen Warfield is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz’s journalism program in the Hudson Valley region of New York. Read more about Kristen