More than 1,000 people have already signed the petition on the White House’s ‘We the People’ website, which allows the public to bring forward issues for political review.
Behind the petition is trade body the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund or R-Calf, an association that claims to be “fighting for the US independent cattle producer”.
Its latest crusade is against rival meat producer Brazil. The petition calls for America to ban imports of Brazilian beef – it does not mention pork or poultry – until country of origin labelling (COOL) has been reintroduced.
Government enforcement of COOL requirements for beef and pork were repealed by the Obama administration in 2015.
Rotten meat scandal
The anti-Brazilian beef petition was filed on 13 April and needs 100,000 signatures by 13 May to get an official response from the White House.
It was filed in response to the Brazilian meat scandal, which brought forward allegations of corruption and collusion inside 21 Brazilian meat factories. Multiple reports this week suggested the country’s federal police have indicted 63 people as part of the scandal, although this could not be independently verified.
As the meat scandal story broke in March 2017, key markets for Brazilian meat, including China, Chile, Egypt and the EU, placed restrictions on Brazil’s animal protein exports. But the US was one country that did not place any restrictions on Brazil, angering America’s beef industry.
‘Fat cat meatpackers’
R-Calf, which is pushing the petition on its website, said it was “time to protect ourselves and our families from unsafe Brazilian imports”.
It stressed countries such as China and the EU banned Brazilian meat imports, but did not mention that these restrictions have since been lifted.
R-Calf wants to see the words “born, raised and slaughtered in the USA” printed on all American beef to protect ranchers being undercut by what it calls “global fat cat meatpackers”.
The US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said no meat from the Brazilian plants implicated in the scandal had been exported to the US.