A creepy new law just made it impossible to know where your meat comes from
Last year the World Health Organization announced what we all probably already knew: red meat—like everything else—may cause cancer. Now, thanks to a new spending bill passed by Congress over the holiday break, American consumers will have an even more difficult time figuring out just where exactly said cancer meat is being shipped from.
Congress repealed a labeling law last month that required retailers to disclose an animal's country of origin (where a product was raised, slaughtered and from where it was shipped) on packages of meat. The legislation is a huge defeat for consumers who may be rightfully curious which hemisphere their food is coming from, and conversely a major win for the nefarious meat industry (Big Meat?) which had pushed to crush the law for more than a decade.
Congress first required the labels in 2002 amid fears of mad cow disease from beef imports. But now, with an ever-growing risk of antibiotic resistance pandemics, it's hard to see how anyone could understand this sudden hasty deregulatory move. Once again, it appears that Congress is putting the interests of big business before people's health.
"U.S. exporters can now breathe a sigh of relief," said Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. The longtime opponent of the labels helped add the repeal to a massive year-end spending bill. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the government would stop mandating the labels immediately, meaning next time you head to the store for a pack of prime beefy meat stuff, you'll be treated to the exciting brain game of trying to figure out where in the world it came from.
That flank of smoldering carcass on the barbie could be just as easily from Tijuana or Missoula. Flip a coin, pretend, guess, who cares, right? As the idiom goes, it’s better to not know how the sausage is made and now we can extend the ignorance of knowledge to also pertain to where said ‘sausage’ is presumably made…. or mechanically separated and then ‘re-made’ into lil’ McRiblets.
Consumer advocacy groups such as Food and Water Watch, have condemned Congress for repealing the law, going so far as to call it an outright, “holiday gift to the meatpacking industry," according to CNS News.
"Packers will be able to once again deliberately deceive consumers," noted Roger Johnson of the National Farmers Union. Delicious.
A separate provision of the bill will, however, require labeling of genetically modified salmon recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for human consumption. So Franken-salmon will be labeled as such: "Mystery cancer meat from ... somewhere?"
Great. Can someone please pass the Garden Burgers?