What was originally designed to be a symbol of quality, and, hopefully, increased price points for American meat manufacturers has become a nationally loathed phenomena: welcome to the world ‘Made in USA’ hatred. Prior to 2008, these labels were not required to appeared on domestic meat, if only because the issue of “origin” had yet to reach critical mass and invoke mammoth social change (which it now has).
Although the Farm Bill required additional investment into product labelling, which, inevitably, resulted in increased costs for manufacturers, the prevailing sentiment was that these labels would ultimately draw customers away from the more dubious products on the marketplace and allow American manufacturers to raise their prices without upsetting their consumer base.
That being said, the results weren’t exactly what these manufacturers had predicted. A 2012 study has revealed that the majority of consumers barely even notice the labels placed upon American meat products and have therefore negated any desired positive outcome that could have been gained by the use of these labels. All that’s left for American manufacturers, then, is the cost of producing them. A potential gain was quickly turned into a relatively worthless annual expense.
Things were made even more complicated in May of 2013, when the Department of Agriculture began requiring the strict separation of domestic and foreign-born cattle at all stages of the production process in order to assuage Canada and Mexico, who had sued the U.S Government over perceived discrepancies in the labelling system.
Now, expenses continue to rise for American meat manufacturers and ranchers with virtually no compensation to make up for these financial losses. Ultimately, this becomes an excellent example of the damaging consequences that can occur when labelling does not produce the originally intended result.
Whether or not these policies will change in the upcoming future has yet to be seen. What can be surmised, however, is that policy makers must make a clean break from the mentality and practices of recent history if they want to ensure that American meat manufacturers do not feel taken advantage of yet again by the government they pay to represent and protect them.