The Center for Rural Affairs along with the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and other organizations are urging the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to approve the proposed rule requiring that animals certified as grass fed receive a minimum of 99% of their lifetime energy source from grass or forage. There are only 30 days left to make comments supporting the proposed standard.
“Finalization of the proposed standard will ensure that grass fed meat products maintain their reputation as a healthy and environmentally sustainable consumer choice, protect the integrity of the USDA label, and benefit the small to moderate – sized sustainable farms,” said Traci Bruckner, Assistant Director of the Rural Policy Program of the Center for Rural Affairs.
Bruckner continued, “This is a significant increase from the original proposal issued in late 2002 stating that at least 80 percent of the lifetime energy source comes from a grass and forage-based diet. This is a big victory for the small and mid-size family farmers that pioneered the thriving grass-fed market.”
The new proposed standard issued by USDA is in response to an effort led by the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (SAC), Center for Rural Affairs and other groups to improve USDA’s 2002 proposal for label standards for grass fed claims, as well as antibiotic use claims; hormone use claims; and free range claims. “We asked USDA for a more extensive and inclusive process that would allow input from family farm, consumer, humane, and environmental organizations and most importantly, sustainable livestock producers themselves, the group who worked hard to establish the grass fed market,” Bruckner added.
The public is encouraged to voice support for this movement. For a sample comment letter those interested can go to – www.msawg.org (or see link under the title of this post) and review the action alert on the grass fed beef label. The letter may be adapted to add whatever other comments one may wish to make about the proposed standard.
The Center for Rural Affairs is urging people to help secure this important victory with their comment letter in support of the proposed label claim standard for grass fed meat. And also urge USDA to issue label claims for public comment on pasture requirements for free range or pasture-raised livestock and for no antibiotics or supplemental hormones. The deadline for comments is August 10, 2006.
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Center for Rural Affairs
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