The days of mystery meat may end

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President BidenJoe Biden Aides who clashed with Giuliani intentionally gave him the wrong time to prepare for the Trump debate: Biden book says Eid al-Adha has “special significance” amid the Manchin pandemic to support the candidate for the post of head of public lands PLUSThe recent federal government executive order to promote competition and protect U.S. consumers represents a dramatic shift in the federal government’s stance on how businesses should behave across a wide range of industries. But hidden among the headline-grabbing big tech headlines, the administration also presented a directive to crack down on mislabelling of the origin of where meat was produced – not just a victory for producers. national, but also for consumers increasingly concerned about where and how their meat comes from.

Currently, packaged meat can be labeled “Product of the United States” even if the animal was raised overseas, provided the meat is processed in the United States. The ordinance addresses this loophole by recommending that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) amend federal rules to more strictly define “when meat may bear” Product of the United States “labels, so that consumers have precise and transparent labels that allow them products made here.

While this may not appear to be an impactful decision, adding accountability and transparency to our food supply chain directly challenges decades of the status quo where food production and oversight was largely left to the hands of. producers themselves.

Biden seems to understand that the integrity of our food is a defining issue of our time. It also happens to reflect changing consumer habits and expectations. I see this firsthand as the CEO of a start-up that tests meat for the presence of antibiotics and other artificial compounds, as does my partner Bill Niman, who is a pioneer in establishing practices. sane meat production. Specifically, in our corner of the meat and poultry industry, “antibiotic-free” labels and claims are increasingly under scrutiny.

Indeed, according to a recent national Zogby survey that sought to understand sentiment surrounding the labeling and use of antibiotics in meat, 66% of Americans find labels without antibiotics to be important when purchasing meat. Consumers no longer just look at calorie counts and saturated fat levels before deciding to buy an item.

It’s logic. The challenges of appropriate transparency and quality for the entire meat and poultry sector are increasingly a matter of life and death. A study from the University of Washington found that there are over 160,000 deaths per year from superbugs caused by overexposure to antibiotics in our meat and poultry, making the antibiotics that we are currently prescribed for fight infections less powerful. It also contributes to the growth of bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Additionally, strains of bird flu transmitted by livestock and wildlife continue to pose enormous risks to our well-being – a reminder that the COVID-19 pandemic is just a virus we need to be wary of. .

Unsurprisingly, with growing concern about the content of our food, consumers are also increasingly skeptical about whether food producers are being honest about their label claims. In that same Zogby poll, only 26% of Americans primarily believe that “antibiotic-free” labels are telling the truth. And they are not wrong. As it stands, of the 9 billion animals slaughtered in the United States each year, the USDA tests less than 7,000 for traces of antibiotics, which is only 0.0025 percent.

Clearly, there is a lot of work to be done to increase consumer confidence that the labels they read are accurate and reliable and that the meat they eat is not harmful to public health. After the administration’s influential first step in regulating the “Product of America” label, it is now imperative that the administration and USDA also focus on expanding transparency and accountability efforts to d other links in the food supply chain. Nonetheless, it is encouraging that we are finally making progress on an issue that has been neglected for too long. The era of mystery meat may be coming to an end.

Kevin Lo is the CEO of Food In-Depth, a livestock analysis platform. He was previously an executive at Google and Facebook.

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