JULY 6, 2005 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Independent Cattlemen Unveil Not Just Any Beef Logo
Hyannis, NE--- Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) Directors traveled
this past week to Washington, DC, along with other cattle producers
from across the country, to hold a press conference urging American
consumers to ask their grocers for USA-Raised beef. The event was part
of a sweeping national campaign to introduce the new Not Just
Any Beef---USA-Raised Beef---Ask For It promotion and logo.
Joining Chris Abbott and Al Davis of ICON in speaking to the Washington
press corps were cattle producer-representatives from South Dakota,
Virginia, Montana, and Colorado.
The primary message delivered to over fifty television and print media
representatives at the Washington Press Club, was that the USDA
inspection stamp does not guarantee the consumers that they are purchasing
US-produced meat, nor does it mean that the USDA has inspected it.
The USDA stamp may only signify that the meat is from a country
that meets broad equivalency standardsnot that there
was an actual inspection of the product, explained ICON Board
member, Al Davis of Hyannis. In point of fact, he added,
more than eighty percent of imported meat is not directly inspected
by the USDA at all.
John Lockie, Director of the Montana Cattlemens Association,
said that this new label will allow US consumers to know and choose
the origin of the food they serve to their families. He noted
that consumers repeatedly state that they want to buy US Beefand
consider it the safest, most nutritious and healthful beef in the world.
The group took questions concerning the recent admission by the USDA
that a cow in Texas has tested positive for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy.
Danni Beer of South Dakota spoke to this issue as a producer, as well
as a mother. She told them, US Beef is the product I feed my children.
Despite the apparent discrepancies in the reports from the USDA, the
fact remains that the animal never reached the food chain so the safeguards
are working. I am confident in our meat supply or I wouldn't serve it
to my kids.
Reporters asked Abbott if this promotion is a push toward Country
of Origin Labeling (COOL) of beef. Abbott told them that implementation
of COOL was mandated in the 2002 Farm Bill but has been delayed until
2006 for lack of funding. The USDA and the meat packing industry
have opposed it, Abbott said. Were here today to show
consumers how easily a label can be applied to their meat and to urge
them to demand it. To underscore this, reporters received sample
beef products, prepared and presented by meat processor Jeff Christensen
of St. Paul, NE. The meat was labeled with the new red, white, and blue
"USA-Raised Beef" logo.
The national launching of the USA-Raised Beef campaign
was organized by the Cattlemens Competitive Market Project, who
promotes USA beef, and fair and open trade policies. The project is
funded by voluntary contributions from cattle producers. ICON is a stakeholder
in this project.