Meat Promotion Coalition

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The Meat Promotion Coalition is lobbying group for the agricultural and meat processing industries.

Anti-product labeling

The coalition lobbied in favor of voluntary country-of-origin meat labeling, as opposed to the mandatory labeling called for by U.S. federal agriculture law that was schedule to be implemented in 2006. It hired the Lesher & Russell lobbying firm "to make the case on Capitol Hill", arguing that "country-of-origin labeling (was) too costly to implement." The Coalition also maintained that labeling wouldn't "provide any measurable improvement in food safety." [1]

Manipulating statistics to make false claims about labeling costs

In April 2005, the Coalition circulated a point paper in Washington DC claiming that labeling "regulatory and implementation costs" would run $583 million to $3.9 billon in the first year alone. However, those figures combined the costs of meat labeling with the costs of seafood, fresh fruit and vegetable labeling. The Coalition also estimated that meat packers would "have to invest $25 million per plant to comply with the new rule." [2]

The Coalition is also concerned that U.S. consumers might avoid meat from other countries, thinking it may be less safe that U.S. meat. "The Meat Promotion Coalition notes in its position paper that imported meat must meet safety standards established by the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service," reported The Hill. [3] Country-of-origin labeling received increased attention in the United States following the December 2003 discovery of mad cow disease in a cow in Washington state.

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SourceWatch Resources

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