MFU: Generic beef promotion concern amid no ‘COOL’

Ground beefThe head of the Missouri Farmers Union says the absence of U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for meat raises concerns about more foreign beef coming into the U.S. and the promotion of what he refers to as generic beef through national and state beef checkoffs, “From Australia, it comes from – oh my gosh – I can’t remember how many places I’ve read. South America, Central America, Africa. And, these sources of beef come from everywhere. There’s a lot of talk now about Australia and about China’s presence in Australia boosting Australian beef exports, even live beef cattle.”

Further, Richard Oswald tells Brownfield, the proposed Missouri state beef checkoff would bring in another $2 Million dollars a year to promote that generic beef, “This thing is never going to end. Once this passes, these Checkoffs are impossible to ever do away with. So, Missouri cattlemen who vote in favor of this are voting to be taxed forever.”

Oswald says there are no clear guidelines on refunds for a state beef checkoff or how difficult it will be for producers. The Missouri Beef Industry Council says a state beef check off – to be run by the Missouri Department of Agriculture – does have clear guidelines for refunds and that the checkoff funds will be used to promote Missouri beef. March 4th is the deadline for producers to register to vote in the Missouri beef checkoff referendum.

Meanwhile, the lawsuit filed against the Department by the Missouri Rural Crisis Center about the referendum process – will be heard in Cole County Circuit Court March 21st.



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One Comment

Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D

Thanks to Julie Harker for covering this issue. And thanks to Richard Oswald for standing up for our local beef producers, family farmers and consumers. As a Registered Dietitian, I can assure you that consumers want more information about the source of their food, not less. A growing number recognize the value of knowing who produces their food and where it comes from. I tell consumer groups that “good” food has nothing to hide. Dietitians and consumers want country of origin labeling. We want to support our local family farmers. So the question is: who does removing COOL really benefit? I encourage consumers to establish relationships with local producers and buy directly from the farmer. Let’s sustain family farmers, our charming rural communities, and consumer health. Without a label, without a face, without a place, I’m not buying it.

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