Is your burger made in the USA?

WASHINGTON, DC — A pair of Republican lawmakers from South Dakota are pushing to ensure only American beef is labeled as a “Product of the U.S.A.”

Senators Mike Rounds and John Thune wrote to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, in support of making sure cattle born, raised, or slaughtered in another country cannot be labeled as American beef.

The senators said USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) only requires beef processed in a USDA-inspected plant is labeled “Product of the U.S.A.”

“Our farmers and ranchers work hard to deliver the highest-quality and safest food products in the world. Americans recognize this, and they want to know where their food is coming from. Unfortunately, without clear parameters, the current “Product of the U.S.A.” label can be misleading to consumers and can result in imported beef being labeled as though it is of U.S. origin,” Thune and Rounds wrote.

Rounds has also introduced a bill called the U.S. Beef Integrity Act. He said it would close the “loophole” that allows beef from livestock born and raised outside the United States to be labeled in what he thinks is a misleading way.

“Today’s beef labeling rules are misleading and allow beef and beef products from cattle born, raised and slaughtered outside of the U.S. to be labeled as U.S. beef. This must be fixed for both consumers and our hardworking producers,” Rounds said in a statement.

Danni Beer of the United States Cattlemen’s Association supports the legislation.

She said, “Despite the repeal of mandatory country-of-origin labeling in 2015, packers and retailers are still labeling beef products with origin claims. USCA finds this practice abhorrent, as it rides on the coattails of the high-quality product U.S. ranchers produce. USCA is working several fronts on Truth in Labeling – addressing both non-labeled and improperly labeled beef and alternative protein products. Our goal is to immediately close this loophole which allows for imported product to be labeled as U.S. beef, and then continue pushing for the reestablishment of a country-of-origin labeling program.”



Challenges of Selling Made in USA

BY NORA CALEY To make products domestically, manufacturers have to overcome sourcing, labor costs and other issues.

While there has always been a demand for U.S.-made products, this trend has seemed to surge over the past few years as consumers become more aware of where and how certain products are sourced. As the shady manufacturing methods of some overseas companies continue to make headlines, pet owners in the U.S. are turning to their home soil for safer alternatives. Although manufacturers and retailers alike are eager to meet this demand, there’s a few hurdles they encounter on the way.

One of the biggest obstacles is all of the regulations that surrounds Made in USA claims. There are several entities that play a role in this, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the FDA’s website, “the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) requires that all animal foods, like human foods, be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled.”

Labeling is where it can get especially tricky, as labels must follow FDA regulations that include identification of the product, net quantity and a list of all ingredients from most to least, based on weight. Individual states also have labeling regulations, and many are based on a model provided by the Association of American Feed Control Officials.

That said, the FDA doesn’t lay down all the guidelines on its own. Enter the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has authority to act against deceptive business practices and controls Made in USA, Made in America and other similar claims about a product’s U.S. origins. The FTC requires that “all or virtually all” of a product be made in the U.S. to use the Made in USA claim, and contain “no—or negligible—foreign parts.”

That means it’s not enough if the product’s final assembly or processing takes place in the U.S., as the FTC considers other factors, including how much of the product’s total manufacturing costs can be assigned to the U.S.

The “no—or negligible—” standard gets complicated because sometimes certain ingredients—such as exotic proteins and spices—just aren’t available in the U.S., and although overseas manufacturers may have sourced those items responsibly and adhered to their own country’s strict guidelines, U.S. manufacturers that utilize those products are unable to label their products as Made in USA… even if it’s only that one element.

“You have to be very careful with your claims now,” says Lynda Winkowski, president of Sunrise, Fla.-based Angels’ Eyes. “The consumer likes that it’s Made in USA. They prefer that, and they prefer natural, and they like certain kinds of buzzwords.”

With all that red tape in place, “it takes a lot of effort to find a company that can produce your product,” explains Janet Reyniers, vice president of Python Pet Products.

When her late husband, company founder Lance, came up with the idea for the Python Hook, which is used for refilling the water in an aquarium, it took the company a year to find a company that could produce it.

Reyniers explains that Python went through the process of contacting a company close to them, who referred them to someone else, who referred them to another person, who then referred them… well, you get the idea. After looking into manufacturers in several states, Python ultimately found the one in its own backyard.

Reyniers explains that partnering with a manufacturer in the company’s home state of Wisconsin helps it maintain and oversee quality control. If there’s ever a problem, Python is able to address it immediately and, if necessary, meet with the supplier the same day.

In the end, all that leg work was, “well worth it, because the quality can’t be beat,” says Reyniers. “I’m glad Lance never gave up because he believed the consumer deserves the best.”

As an alternative, manufacturers also have the option of cutting out the middle man and purchasing their own facility. It’s in a similar vein to Python’s method of partnering with a production plant in the same state, but it allows the company to be completely hands-on in all aspects of production, enabling it to confidently speak about its sourcing and manufacturing process.

This is the tactic Dr. Bob Goldstein, co-founder of Earth Animal, employed when he was developing Wisdom, a line of dog food slated to launch in January. Two years ago, Dr. Goldstein decided he wanted to formulate Wisdom only with ingredients that came from the U.S.

In its search for a production facility, Earth Animal contacted several private label and other manufacturers. The company was not confident that these manufacturers could meet its specifications for high-quality, safe and made in the U.S. ingredients, which lead to it looking into other options. Luck and timing intervened when Dr. Goldstein found out that the manufacturer of the company’s baked treats was facing a financial hardship.

“They were having a little bit of a struggle, so we sat down with them and we said, ‘We’ll purchase you, you will continue to run the plant for us and we want to make sure we control everything,” explains Goldstein. “They said, ‘You’re on.’”

By owning its manufacturing facility, Earth Animal is able to oversee the sourcing of all ingredients. There are no brokers or intermediaries, and the company gets meats and other ingredients directly from U.S. farms. This allows the company to, “control everything from farm to finished product, and guarantee everything [it does] is Made in USA.”

Dr. Goldstein does acknowledge that Earth Animal “went to the extreme, purchasing a very expensive plant,” which may not be feasible for most manufacturers.

Penny Pinchers

The main deterrent against purchasing products that are made in the U.S. is cost. Items that are Made in USA do come at higher price points, which makes sense: Josh Wiesenfeld, founder and CEO of Boxiecat, explains that this is because, “wages, and other overhead costs, are higher in the U.S.,” as companies have to adjust their production costs in order to pay their workers a livable wage.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2018 numbers, the average hourly worker in the U.S. makes $14.13 per hour, compared to CNBC’s 2017 report outlining the $3.60 per hour of Chinese workers and $0.50 per hour of Sri Lankan laborers.

Because of this, consumers believe that if a product is Made in USA, the cost will automatically be higher, says Eric Johnson, CEO of VetiOx, a brand of ReliOx Corporation. That’s where retailers have to lay out the cost versus the benefits.

“Specific to odor elimination, there are few in the industry who understand the chemistry and physiology of animal odor and its control,” Johnson says. “Our product cost may be a little higher as compared to products that are mass produced outside the U.S., or that work to generally cover up odors, however, since you use less and get a more effective and immediate result with VetiOX, ultimately it is not [more expensive].”

As a bonus, Johnson adds that higher margins provide retailers with an excellent profit opportunity.

On the positive side, Made in USA can also be a key differentiator for both sustainability and safety features. Wiesenfeld says local production supports U.S. economies and provides an Earth-friendly element.

“Making our products in the U.S. not only has a positive impact on the environment—since our products do not have to travel as far—but also adds jobs in the U.S.,” Wiesenfeld says.

Although the size of the company’s carbon footprint and safety standards are influential, shoppers are still going to be reluctant to hand over a couple extra dollars for U.S.-made products.

“Many clients request Made in USA but are not always willing to pay the price that goes along with it,” explains Barbara Ratner, founder and owner of Boca Raton, Fla.-based Holistic Pet Cuisine. “As explained to our clients, Made in USA products may be [more expensive] than expected due to the safety net of the FDA.”

She points out that an aspect of safety that some manufacturers might want to be aware of is the packaging they use for their goods, as many bags contain high levels of carcinogens. For its K9Crisps treat offering, Holistic Pet Cuisine bags them in safe, U.S.-made packaging.

Creating and selling U.S.-made products can, at times, be discouraging. There’s a lot of hurdles to clear, and it’s true that Made in USA won’t outsell other products on patriotism alone. Some customers consider it a necessity, while others simply view it as a perk or a tie-breaker. That’s why retailers need to be aware of just how much leg work and time manufacturers put into getting their products the Made in USA claim, and relay that information to customers along with the economical and sustainable benefits these products provide. A little bit of knowledge will go a long way.  PB




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FTC Defense Attorney on Made in USA Compliance

The Federal Trade Commission’s bread-and-butter mission is to prevent deception and unfairness in the marketplace.  FTC CID investigation lawyers have the power to investigate and agency staff also brings law enforcement actions against false or misleading claims that a product is of U.S. origin.

Consistent with applicable FTC Made in USA compliance standards, marketers and manufacturers that promote products as Made in USA must meet the “all or virtually all” standard.  Additionally, as with most other advertising claims, a manufacturer or marketer may make any claim as long as it is truthful and substantiated.

The agency has issued an Enforcement Policy Statement on U.S. Origin Claims to provide guidance to marketers that want to make unqualified Made in USA claims under the “all or virtually all” standard and those that want to make qualified Made in USA claims.

The Enforcement Policy Statement applies to U.S. origin claims that appear on products and labeling, advertising, and other promotional materials.  It also applies to all other forms of marketing, including marketing through digital or electronic mechanisms, such as Internet or email.

When Must U.S. Content be Disclosed on Products Sole in the U.S.?

U.S. content must be disclosed on automobiles and textile, wool, and fur products.  No law requires most other products sold in the U.S. to be marked or labeled Made in USA, or have any other disclosure about their amount of U.S. content.

However, manufacturers and marketers that make claims about the amount of U.S. content in their products must comply with the FTC’s Made in USA policy.

Continue reading FTC Defense Attorney on Made in USA Compliance

New Louis Vuitton Handbags to Boast ‘Made in USA’

LVMH is following through on a pledge to create more U.S. manufacturing jobs, part of a plan by Bernard Arnault, chairman of the French luxury conglomerate, to hedge against trade tensions and build on the rapport he’s established with President Donald Trump.

Louis Vuitton Petite Boite Chapeau Toile Monogram handbags at the company workshop in Beaulieu-sur-Layon, France. Photographer: Balint Porneczi/Bloomberg

Trump and his daughter Ivanka are set to open a new Louis Vuitton factory with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Texas on Thursday alongside Arnault, who is LVMH’s leading shareholder, and Michael Burke, the chief executive officer of its best-known brand.

In 2017, Arnault was one of the first CEOs to visit the president following his election, making the trip to Trump Tower along with his son Alexandre at a time when most fashion executives were paralyzed over how to approach the new commander-in-chief. Fashion was caught between threats of tariffs on foreign suppliers and concerns that consumers opposing Trump would boycott brands that supported the new administration.

Continue reading New Louis Vuitton Handbags to Boast ‘Made in USA’

Toxic chemicals found in 95 percent of tested baby foods

(CNN) – When you feed your baby, you may also be serving up mega-doses of lead, arsenic, and mercury.


A new study found that the vast majority of tested baby food contained toxic heavy metals. (Source: KCAL/KCBS/CNN)

A new investigative study found these toxic heavy metals in many of the foods produced and marketed for babies.

In the study, 168 baby foods from major manufacturers were tested, and 95 percent contained lead, 73 percent contained arsenic, 75 percent contained cadmium and 32 percent contained mercury.

Even in trace amounts, those chemicals are linked to impaired brain development in children.

The worst offenders were baby foods made with rice, sweet potatoes, and fruit juices.

The negative brain impacts of these chemicals worsen with repeated exposure.

Physicians suggest pureed vegetables, salmon, peanut-butter oatmeal and avocado as safe baby foods.

They also say meats are better sources of nutrients than rice cereals.

Continue reading Toxic chemicals found in 95 percent of tested baby foods

Thieves made off with 7,000 pounds of apples from a farm during apple season

Apple thieves snuck onto a Michigan family farm and stole more than 3 tons of fruit right off of the trees.















The heist was discovered October 10, when workers from Spicer Orchards came to pick the fruit, Shannon Rowe told CNN on Thursday. Her parents own the orchard and she’s a partner in the business.

“We are just shocked and stunned,” Rowe said. “We just can’t believe it happened. It was last week during the night. It wiped out most of the apple crop.”

Spicer Orchards is a popular fall destination near Flint, where families come to pick their own apples and enjoy cider, donuts and other treats.

Rowe said the theft happened at a secondary orchard, where they grow apples for cider and to sell in their market. She said they’d checked the apples a few days earlier to see if they were ready to pick.

The haul was worth between $15,000 and $25,000, she said.

“It was the more expensive apples. EverCrisp, Jonagold, Northern Spy, Fuji,” Rowe said.

Continue reading Thieves made off with 7,000 pounds of apples from a farm during apple season

IRS Issues Updated Guidance on the Tax Treatment of Cryptocurrency

Five years or so years ago, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) provided its first, and until this week, only formal advice on the taxation of cryptocurrency transactions in Notice 2014-21. This guidance, while helpful in some respects, left many questions unanswered. Additionally, the last five years have brought significant market developments in the digital asset space giving rise to new tax questions not addressed in the previous IRS guidance.

Last June, we reported that additional guidance from the IRS was forthcoming on certain tax issues related to the treatment of crypto-currency transactions. Specifically, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig indicated in a letter to Representative Tom Emmer, a member of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, that the IRS would publish additional guidance on the federal tax treatment of cryptocurrency transactions, including: (1) acceptable methods for calculating cost basis; (2) acceptable methods of cost basis assignment; and (3) the tax treatment of forks (defined below).

On Wednesday October 9, in Revenue Ruling 2019-24 the IRS delivered on some of those promises, publishing a Revenue Ruling on the tax treatment of forks and related airdrops and posting an accompanying information circular on its website providing a list of frequently asked questions and answers (“IRS Q&A”) that, among other things, addresses methods for determining a taxpayer’s basis in cryptocurrency. While the IRS Q&A appears to be mostly non-controversial, the treatment of forks and airdrops is likely to be the subject of debate.

Continue reading IRS Issues Updated Guidance on the Tax Treatment of Cryptocurrency

Farmers in Idaho rallied to harvest a neighbor’s potatoes as a deep freeze threatened to ruin them





With meteorologists predicting a hard freeze in southeast Idaho for Wednesday, farmers rushed to harvest all their potatoes before the surprise cold snap ruined them.

© Jason Larson Farm workers arrived en masse to help a neighbor whose crop was in jeopardy

One farmer in Hamer, Idaho, about 30 miles north of Idaho Falls, wasn’t able to take in all his crop in time.

So other farmers sent their workers, and “a ton of members of the community” came to help save his crop, Jason Larson told CNN.

Larson, who works on a nearby farm, said his farm sent about 25 employees to help. The convoy of trucks included nine harvesters and he estimated that 50 people in total showed up.

He posted a video showing a convoy of trucks heading to the farm with snow swirling in the air.

Many of those who showed up had been up until midnight the night before clearing up their own fields. Starting at 11 a.m., Larson said the emergency harvest was complete by about 8 p.m. that night.

He estimated they saved several hundred thousand dollars’ worth of potatoes.

“What people do is they help their neighbor,” Larson said. “There really wasn’t a second thought about it.”

Potatoes across the state were threatened

On Tuesday CNN affiliate KIFI reported that farmers throughout the Idaho Falls area were rushing to harvest potatoes before the frigid air temperatures penetrated deep into the soil.

Farmer Brook Bybee told KIFI that his team had been working 16-18 hours a day to get all the spuds out of the ground.

Producing 32% of American potatoes, Idaho is the nation’s leading producer of potatoes, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

An estimated 15-20% of Idaho’s potatoes were still in the ground Wednesday, Travis Blacker, the director of industry relations for the Idaho Potato Commission told the Idaho Statesman.

That deep freeze risk is unusual, Larson said. Asking around town, he said people told him there hadn’t been a deep freeze this early in the season since 1985.

But at least in the case of the convoy, he caught on video, some of that crisis was averted.

“This is a story about helping your neighbors,” he said. “This kind of thing goes on every day across America.”

Original Article:


ID Plastics to open first U.S. manufacturing

“Our continued efforts and partnerships with local communities have led to another great manufacturer coming to Alabama,” Governor Ivey said. “ID Plastics’ decision to select Alabama will create 50 jobs for families in East Alabama over the next three years.”

Initially, the company will produce the ID PACK sleeve, a foldable, returnable transportation container system used in various industries.

Brothers Martin and Andreas Hartl formed the Alabama-based business operation with the plan to bring various products of their companies, DUROtherm Plastics, a thermoforming specialist, and the Infinex Group, an extrusion specialist, to a production center in the U.S.

The two companies are headquartered in the Black Forest in Southwest Germany and have approximately 600 employees.

“Transport containers have always had downsides of one kind or another,” Martin Hartl said. “We responded with an innovative collapsing container system that eliminates these problems. The ID PACK is a truly problem-free sleeve pack system.”


Continue reading ID Plastics to open first U.S. manufacturing