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The USDA has finalized a rule to align the voluntary “Product of USA” label claim with consumer understanding of what the claim means.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the rule Monday at the National Farmer’s Union (NFU) annual convention in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“We are now on record as being for the utilization of that label only, only, when the animal was born, raised, slaughtered, and processed in the U.S.,” he told the crowd that answered with applause.

Secretary Vilsack said the rule will prohibit misleading U.S. origin labeling in the market and help ensure that the information that consumers receive about where their food comes from is truthful.

“The reason for this is quite simple. We surveyed consumers. We asked them the question, ‘When you see this label, what do you think it means?’” he explained.

He said most respondents believed the label meant everything was done in the United States. The next question asked if the consumer would pay a little extra for a package with the Product of the USA label.

“[They said] ‘absolutely, we want to help our farmers out.’ So, in order for that value proposition to be respected, in order for there to be fairness and honesty and the proper representation in the marketplace, it’s important to have rules like this,” Vilsack said.

Secretary Vilsack also made two other announcements. First, USDA is awarding $9.5 million to 42 projects through the Local Meat Capacity grant program to expand processing options for the meat and poultry industry. Second, there are new actions to ensure transparency and a fair and competitive market in the U.S. seed industry.