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Want to buy 'Made in the USA' meat and eggs? A new federal labeling rule might help

Shoppers who want to determine if their meat, eggs and poultry were “Made in the USA” are expected to find the task easier once a finalized federal rule takes effect.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday announced new requirements for meat and egg producers who use the voluntary “Product of USA” or “Made in the USA” labels on their products.

Under the new rule, the labels can only be used for products derived from animals that are born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States. The rule will go into effect Jan. 1, 2026, but the government encouraged producers to start complying immediately.

The labels are voluntary and appear on around 12% of the meat, poultry and eggs consumed in the U.S.

Under the previous rule, companies could use “Product of the USA” labels on meat and other animal products that were imported from a foreign country. The U.S. imports about 12% of its beef from Australia, Canada and Brazil, for example.

Some U.S. ranchers and groups like the American Grassfed Association lobbied for the rule to be tightened.

The Biden administration agreed that the previous rule didn’t align with customers’ views. A 2022 survey commissioned by the Department of Agriculture found that nearly two-thirds of shoppers believed “Product of the USA” labels meant that most or all steps in the production of meat occurred in the U.S.

The department also said that most of the 3,363 comments it received on the proposed new rule supported the change.