They don't have to tell you where meat comes from anymore


#1

[Read the post]


#2

Isn’t that the whole point of the supermarket?


#3


#4

Snopes had an interesting write-up about this: http://www.snopes.com/country-origin-meat-labeling-meme/


#5

Every time I see this picture I always wonder why there’s a square cracker and a round can. I suspect when you’re the solution to world hunger you don’t have to put the explanation for that on your labels either.


#6

Just to be clear, this is the result of WTO rulings that the US lost.


#7

Meh, I don’t really care about mandatory labelling for country of origin or GMO ingredients, although I am completely opposed to the WTO saying anything at all about US food labelling regulations.

But the problem with food labelling for things like country of origin or GMO is that it is basically a placebo that looks like you are doing something about food safety without having to do anything. With GMO there is no clear dividing line between “traditional” breeding and “GMO”, and both techniques can produce strains that are dangerous or safe – for instance, crops engineered to produce a pesticide should be examined in a completely different way than rice engineered to produce beta carotine. Both could be safe or dangerous, but they are clearly not in the same league, and it shouldn’t matter whether this is done by GMO techniques or more conventional hybridization. Just putting a GMO label on doesn’t really provide information that anyone can use. Country of origin labelling supposed to be a way to address concerns that some countries are not producing food that is as safe/healthy as US produced food due to weak regulations or weak enforcement. If that is true, the answer is to ban food imports from those countries, not to label them.


#8

Yeah, this isn’t about supermarkets not wanting to tell you where the meat comes from, this is about other countries (e.g. Canada) wanting to sell their meat side-by-side with American meat and not being dinged for Americans’ preference for anything “Made in the USA.”


#9

“a holiday gift to the meatpacking industry from Congress,”


#10

They improved on the design a few years later with the advent of Soylent Pringles.


#11

The easiest solution if you really want to know where your meat comes from but the labeling requirements get gutted?:

Only eat meat that you are familiar with (i.e. raised yourself, raised by a neighbor for community use, purchased at a farmer’s market from a trusted source) or don’t eat meat at all.


#12

It’s about whether a treaty with the USA is worth the paper its written on.

Treating North America as one market was part of the deal back in 1993 and the Canada-US free trade agreement in 1988. But a decade ago - like with wheat, lumber, trucking and manufactured goods - the US simply decided to not honor the agreement. And it took a decade to settle in the arbitration court.

I was living in a farming community in Manitoba when the new labelling rules were enacted. The rules were about protectionism, of course. A large percentage of the cattle and pigs went to US slaughterhouses. But because the slaughterhouses had no way to keep US and Canadian herds separate, they simply stopped accepting Canadian livestock.

Worse, because the US slaughterhouses had long been there, there wasn’t capacity in the Canadian slaughterhouses to make up for it. The effect on farmers was devastating. Even the local trucking companies were letting people go because of it.

Canada needs to mirror American protectionist policies. Block American goods with BS labelling laws. Let cities and provinces forbid American goods and services in their construction projects. Stop Canadians from using American services - like slaughterhouses - because of the harmful effects when those services suddenly disappear. Etc. Etc. Not because protectionism is a good idea, but to stop it.


#13

I assume that R-Murkowski’s provision is intended to protect/promote wild-caught Alaskan salmon? If she was from Nebraska I suspect she would not care.


#14

I’d rather know about the meat’s country of origin than the GMO status.


#15

Unless of course they can buy said anything for significantly cheaper, then any preference for “Made in the USA” goes right out the window. (Example: most things sold by WalMart 20 years ago vs. everything sold by them today.)


#16

Jingoism aside, COOL was also – and more measurably – hurting Canadian producers because it made their meat more expensive, because American wholesale buyers had to track and keep Canadian-origin meat segregated. Now they can go back to just pitching it in the blender with whatever other scraps they have.


#17

And yet the UK is considered to have bad food by most Americans standards.

I submit, good sir, that the food standards here are far better than that of our friends across the pond.


#18

Actually, my understanding is that this goes beyond what the WTO required. Either way, it’s bullshit, as we should be requiring more transparency and tracking of food.

You should. We have meat coming from certain countries with little oversight (coughChinacough), where it’s contaminated with antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, heavy metals, etc. If you don’t even know what country it’s from, you don’t know what you’re getting nor what’s been done to it.


#19

The complaint most people outside the UK have is that your food tastes bad.

I personally disagree with that claim since in my experience most UK food has no taste whatsoever.


#20

It’s what NAFTA required. The US agreed with making North American ONE market. It had little to lose; it’s by far the largest food producer of the three countries. Shortly after NAFTA was signed, the two major slaughterhouses here in Winnipeg shut down. Those jobs went to the US as farmer started sending cattle and pigs to US slaughterhouses.

The labelling law wasn’t about food safety. It was about protectionism, nothing more. The slaughterhouses weren’t set up to keep US and Canadian herds separate, and so they stopped taking Canadian livestock.

The problem wasn’t just that Manitoba farmers couldn’t ship their livestock to the US any more. It’s that there wasn’t capacity in Canadian slaughterhouses to make up for it. It was devastating for farmers and related industries here.

If you don’t even know what country it’s from, you don’t know what you’re getting nor what’s been done to it

Well sure. But that fear also applies equally to American meat.