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Support Truth in Buffalo Labeling for Bison Products

Product labels should decipher between bison or water buffalo ingredients.

The National Bison Association (NBA) has been dismayed that water buffalo continues to be imported into the United States and marketed, in some instances, as “Wild Buffalo” to American consumers. This deceptive approach to marketing water buffalo as bison is dishonest to the consumer and threatens the food safety that the bison industry affords to its customers. Learn more.

That’s why the NBA developed the The Truth in Buffalo Labeling Act of 2023 (H.3866). This bill was recently introduced in the House by Representatives Carol Miller (R-WV-1) and Yadira Caraveo (D-CO-8); and aims to provide clarification regarding the common or usual name for bison and compliance with section 403 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and for other purposes. Senate Bill 258 was (S.258) introduced in the Senate by Senators John Hoeven (R-ND), and Michael Bennet (D-CO), and has the following co-sponsors: Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Jon Tester (D-MT), Mike Braun (R-IN), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), John Thune (R-SD), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Roger Marshall (R-KS) will provide this much-needed clarification of terms for bison. Both bills are supported by the National Bison Association and National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

Said House Sponsor, and bison farmer, Rep. Carol Miller (R-WV) “Owning a bison farm, I am aware of what it takes to raise bison and the many benefits that come with the production of bison products for West Virginia. When a product is labeled as ‘buffalo,’ consumers usually think that the product contains bison. This bill makes absolutely certain that only bison products are labeled as buffalo and that any water buffalo products have their own specific label. This will help consumers make better choices and bolster the American bison industry.”

“The voices of our diverse membership in the National Bison Association have helped create and shape this legislation, and now is the moment we need support from members and friends beyond to ensure this legislation becomes enacted,” stated National Bison Association Executive Director Jim Matheson. “We encourage folks to contact their representatives and push for hearings in the House and Senate on this bill.”

Now we need your help. Please contact your federal legislators and insist on their support for this important bill. 

Our Request/Recommendation: Support the Truth in Buffalo Labeling Act, S. 258 and H.3866 as a stand-alone bill, or as a marker bill in the next Farm Bill, which makes a simple regulatory change to current Food and Drug Administration regulations to require water buffalo ingredients to be labeled as such, and not just “buffalo”. This will effectively stop the deceptive practice of mislabeling imported water buffalo meat to trick American consumers into thinking they’re purchasing American bison. 

By phone:

Step 1: Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and request your Senator or House representative.

Step 2: Leave a message for your Senators and Representative like this:

“Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent and a ____ [farmer, rancher, concerned citizen, etc.]. As your constituent, I’m concerned about the deceptive labeling of water buffalo and urge you to support our legislation that will fix this issue. Will you support bison ranchers and healthy herds by cosponsoring the Truth in Buffalo Labeling Act? Thank you!” 

By email:

Step 1: Find your representative’s contact information here. https://www.congress.gov/members

Step 2: Copy and paste the letter text for the House or Senate below, personalize it, and send it along. 

House Letter

Senate Letter

Want to learn more about this issue?

Truth in Buffalo Labeling Information