Hoeven, Bennet Introduce Bipartisan Truth in Buffalo Labeling Act

Legislation Protects U.S. Bison Industry, Ensures Clear Labeling of Buffalo and Water Buffalo in Products

WASHINGTON – Senators John Hoeven and Michael Bennet today announced that they have introduced the Truth in Buffalo Labeling Act, legislation to fix a deceptive labeling issue that is negatively impacting the U.S. bison industry.  The legislation would provide the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the authority to prohibit water buffalo products from being marketed as “buffalo.”

“This legislation prevents the deceptive marketing of water buffalo as buffalo,” said Hoeven. “Our bill provides clarification to consumers by giving FDA the authority necessary to ensure proper labeling of water buffalo and establishing that buffalo is a common name for bison.”

“Misleading labeling does a disservice to bison ranchers, who have worked hard to create a growing market for bison” said Bennet. “By requiring that water buffalo products be labeled accurately, our legislation will go a long way in addressing this misleading practice, provide transparency for American consumers, and safeguard the U.S. bison industry.”  

“Senators Hoeven and Bennet are once again standing shoulder to shoulder with the American bison ranchers who have worked hard for the past two decades to build a relationship with our customers that is founded in the quality of the meat produced from this magnificent animal. The legislation they introduced today will protect that relationship by prohibiting the sale of water buffalo products that are labeled only as ‘buffalo’. That’s a win for ranchers and their customers,” said Dave Carter, Executive Director of National Bison Association.

Last year, the senators led a letter to the FDA highlighting concerns with the growing number of imported water buffalo meat and pet food ingredients on the market being deceptively labeled as “buffalo.”  In response, FDA indicated that it does not currently have a specific regulation regarding the marketing of either water buffalo or bison, but the agency agreed that water buffalo should be labeled as “water buffalo” and bison should be labeled as “bison” or “buffalo.”

The legislation is supported by the North Dakota Farmers Union, American Farm Bureau Federation, Intertribal Buffalo Council, National Bison Association, National Farmers Union, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, R-CALF USA, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Farm Bureau and the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union.