Washington state Representative Joel Kretz is sponsoring legislation in Olympia that he says would clarify from where beef comes. The Wauconda Republican said it’s important to bring back truth in labeling, to ensure the general public understands if a product comes from the U.S. or not.
House Bill 2712 would require retailers to post a sign in the immediate vicinity to distinguish between “USA beef” and “imported.” To qualify for the USA beef label, the beef must be derived exclusively from animals born, raised and processed in the United States. Imported beef must include a sign with the country in which the beef was born, raised and processed.
“Unfortunately, for consumers and our local beef industry, that’s just not true,” says Kretz said. “We need to bring truth in labeling back to the general public and make sure USA beef means something.”
“We have the best beef in the world, period,” Kretz continued. “Buyers today want to know where their food comes from. There is a desire for transparency in labeling and a deeper connection to the farm-to-table process. Beef that’s born and raised in Venezuela or Bolivia is not USA beef just because it’s processed here America.”
Kretz a member of the House Rural Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee said his legislation mirrors federal Country of Origin Labeling proposals that were implemented nationwide in the early 2000’s. Over the subsequent years, as various trade compacts and the politics surrounding those agreements played out, the COOL requirements were eased.
Kretz added other states are starting to take matters into their own hands when it comes to USA labeling.
“Legislation similar to this passed in Colorado. I think people want as much information about their food as possible,” said Kretz. “If it has to be done at the state level, so be it. The beef producers in our state have higher standards, more safety protocols and quality controls. It’s a far superior product than anything we’re seeing from other countries that have substandard conditions.
Kretz’s bill has broad bipartisan support with 14 Democrat co-sponsors.
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