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Talk from the Meat Case

With the recent passing and implementation of mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL), the long-term effects are hard to decipher right now. Yet, as consumers head to the meat case, they are starting to notice the labels stamped on their beef products. So what do they really think about this labeling system? I recently received this insightful email from a friend of mine who thought it might be of interest to beef producers and industry professionals. This is definitely an encounter in the meat case worth paying attention to. Enjoy.

Dear Amanda,

I’m in seed production, but always try to keep up with the rest of the AG industry. Last week my wife and I were at a large grocery store in our local shopping area, and as we walked by the meat section, a rather confused woman asked if we knew what the sticker meant she was pointing at on a package of fresh beef. It said, “Product of Canada, United States, or Mexico”. She was seriously concerned and after a short series of light comments between the three of us, she put the package back on the shelf and decided to eat more chicken for a while.

I like BEEF. I try to purchase my beef from local cattle producers, but at times I, too, get some from this store. I may be tempted to switch to chicken also, as I feel it would be pretty hard to track if a problem arose with the cut I purchased.

Thought you might like the chance to “warn” those that might care.

It seems COOL and a national animal identifcation system (NAIS) are constantly in the news. These two programs have been hashed over, fought over and debated over for countless hours, days, months and years. However, I never tire of these discussions, so my question of the day is: What are your thoughts on COOL and NAIS? What are the problems with both programs? What is an ideal compromise for our industry, in its current state? How do we truly become more competitive in the global marketplace? Let's talk.

FYI, tomorrow, my responses will be coming to you from Phoenix, Ariz. as I join 5,000+ beef professionals at the 2009 Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show. Stay tuned for blog updates, new segments of BEEFtv and more from the staff at BEEF Magazine!