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New Meat Labeling Rules Added To Farm Bill

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Meat and livestock groups are raising concerns after Congress added more specific country of origin labeling requirements to the Farm Bill.

On Tuesday, the Senate passed a Farm Bill and now it is going to the President's desk for approval.

The Farm Bill now includes mandatory country of origin labeling requirements. But, many are from Canada and Mexico.

"We do have some concerns about the in costs of implementation of this current rule," said Errol Rice, Montana Stockgrowers Association Executive Vice President.

Previous rules required meat to have labels from where it was produced such as "Product of U.S." or "Product of U.S. and Canada."

The new rules that have been in effect since last November require labels for steaks, ribs and other cuts of meat to provide specific information such as where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.

"Consumers have a right to know where there food is coming from and that certainly may be the case. They also argue that this would enhance the demand for domestically produced part of our beef supply," said Gary Brester, Montana State University Agriculture Professor.

Others said it's too costly to track the animals along the entire supply chain.

"The beef supply chain do have concerns as to what some of the costs are being implemented in this current rule," said Rice. "We do want to see a country of origin labeling protocol that we can as U.S. meat producers and ranchers can hang our hat on so to speak."

Only time will tell if the new meat labeling process will benefit both sides.

"The issue becomes is it worth it to make everyone else pay for it or should it be something that individuals or individual firms do on their own," said Brester.

"We want to make sure that we can maintain a labeling requirement for born, raised and processed in the United States and everything else surrounding that," said Rice.

Brester said 10% of our beef is imported. Canada and Mexico supplies the U.S. with about half of its imported beef.

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