Country of Origin Labeling – An Attempt at Local Labeling

This morning, Representative Paula Hawks and Senator Jason Frerichs brought legislation that would have established a local labeling program for beef.

You can read the language of the legislation here: 1228ja

The essence of the legislation is, if a retailer like a grocery store knows where the beef they’re selling is from, they would then be required to pass that information on to their customers.

The Stockgrowers Association was the leading force behind the bill, and it was supported by the SD Farmers Union and us, Dakota Rural Action. Unfortunately it was opposed by just about everyone under the sun, including our own Department of Agriculture.

Our logic for supporting state-level labeling for beef is this: consumers want to know. People want to know where their meat comes from. That trend is not going to go away any time soon. And either we get to set the labeling standards, or at some point someone else is going to set them, but either way they’re going to get set. So why not take pride American Made, label it, and get out ahead?

The bill died in committee today but we have no doubt this wont be the last time labeling for beef comes up. We can only hope when it does come up again, the ranchers are the ones leading the charge.



  1. Bill Powers says:

    As far as I can tell, this bill modifies already slightly existing law. The existing legislation requires that all meat be labeled if it is known to be imported. This legislation would have required that only beef be labeled. Contra the existing law, it would have required that all beef be labeled as either foreign, US, or unknown. I don’t know why the authors of this bill decided to only have beef labeled, and not other meats. Regarding labeling, it is as weak as the existing legislation: only if the origin is known is the seller required to label it. By introducing the category of “Unknown,” the law would probably have demonstrated to the consumer that we don’t know where most our beef comes from. I don’t know why the Dept of Ag opposed it. Does anyone know?

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