The Kitchen Think: Meatpackers Say You Don’t Need To Know Where Your Meat Comes From


Meatpackers Don't Want You To Know Where Your Meat Comes FromI’ve always assumed that all of the meat I bought in the supermarket originated in the United States.


I had no idea that the pork roast I served for Sunday dinner might have come from China… or that the roast beef sandwich I just consumed was from South America… or that the chicken I ate was from Canada.

Boy, was I naive.

I stumbled upon this knowledge when I learned that meat processors are blasting a new USDA regulation requiring meatpackers to include country-of-origin information on supermarket meat.

Like everyone I know, I thought all the meat I found in the grocery store originated in the United States. And yes, I know that a lot of our seafood comes from overseas, like Indonesia or Europe.

The new rule on meat, which goes into effect this Saturday, would require meatpackers to track and label every major step of livestock processing and meat production: where a cow (or chicken or pig) was born, where it was raised and slaughtered, and where it was packaged.

Giant meatpacking companies, like Tyson and Cargill say this tracking process is expensive… and doesn’t benefit the consumer.

Really? I mean… REALLY?

There’s one obvious benefit for the consumer: We’ll all be able to decide whether we really want to buy a rump roast from a country that has sub-standard sanitation and food safety laws.

Needless to say, American ranchers and farmers are VERY MUCH in favor of the new regulation, hoping that more of us will opt to buy “locally” (even if “local” in this case means anywhere in the entire United States).

The meatpacker’s lobby is working furiously to amend this regulation in their favor before it becomes law this weekend.

Do you want to know where your meat comes from?

The Kitchen Think: What Do You Think About The Horse Meat Scandal?


I’ve been watching the European horse meat scandal with one eye because, well, it was happening in Europe and didn’t seem like it would really affect me.

That is until I saw that international retailing giant IKEA said it’s pulling its meatballs from stores in 14 countries because a Czech Republic store found horse meat in the product.

IKEA says it tested its meatballs two weeks ago and didn’t find any horse DNA. Regardless, they decided to pull the meatballs from stores in the Czech Republic, Sweden, Slovakia, Hungary, France, Britain, Portugal, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Ireland.

The United States is not on the list, so I have to believe that means the meatballs sold here are horse meat free. Or should I say, I want to believe it. The U.S. doesn’t allow horses to be slaughtered for human consumption and we don’t import beef from any of the companies involved in the overseas scandal.

But still, I’ve had those IKEA meatballs before. They are good. Really good.

The rational side of me knows that horse meat isn’t bad for you. And I know this argument is about truth in labeling and packaging… if it says beef it better be from a cow. But for me, it’s just the idea of eating a horse. Kind of like the idea of eating a dog… or a cat.

But then again, I eat beef, which I’m sure would repulse those who practice the Hindu religion and abstain from eating cows.

It’s all a matter of taste… and what your culture finds acceptable and “normal.” What do you think?

I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: