Letter: Comment today on COOL meat rule – Billings Gazette, April 10, 2013

April 10, 2013

Categories: Agriculture, Food, Letters


Montana is an agricultural state where the population of cattle far exceeds the population of people. So it is a bizarre reality that much of the beef and other meat we consume here is born, raised and slaughtered outside Montana, even outside the United States.

What is even more peculiar is that consumers do not have access to information about where their meat is actually coming from. Hopefully, that will change soon. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has opened a public comment period until April 11 on proposed rules for mandatory Country of Origin Labeling.

The proposal is impressive. If approved, it would require retailers to provide detailed information to consumers about the source of their food. Meat labels would track which country each stage of production took place, instead of generically describing your Canada-born, United States-raised and Mexico-slaughtered meat as “North American.”

The proposed rules would give consumers more information about the food they buy and would allow them to support Montana farmers and ranchers through their purchases. Montana farmers and ranchers take pride in the wholesome meat they raise — the marketplace should let consumers locate Montana-raised products in stores.

Ask the USDA to approve the proposed COOL rules for the sake of Montanan producers, consumers, and our agricultural economy. Support USDA’s Country-of-Origin Labeling rules: online at www.regulations.gov, by phone at 202-720-4486, or by fax at 202-260-4486. Submit your comments before April 11.

Steve Charter


220 South 27th Street, Suite A
Billings, Montana 59101
(406) 248-1154