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U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a longtime member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, this week expressed concern with the large meatpackers’ control over beef processing capacity and cattle supply in South Dakota and across the country. Thune explained that meatpackers are experiencing massive profits, while cattle producers and family farm and ranch operations in South Dakota are struggling to stay in business. Thune noted that the meatpackers’ industry dominance results in record-high beef prices for consumers, and he stressed the importance of closing the loophole that has allowed beef to be labeled as ‘product of the U.S.A.’ even if it comes from cattle that are not born, raised, and harvested in the United States. Thune also discussed his American Beef Labeling Act, which would establish a path forward for the reinstatement of mandatory country of origin labeling for beef.
On beef labeling (excerpt):
“We’ve got labeling on everything except the stuff that we eat; it makes absolutely no sense. It's an issue that just has to be addressed. I've got a bill with Senator Tester to do that. … I think it's an important distinction to be made, and something that consumers around this country desperately want to see.”