Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling—Will It Benefit Consumers?

Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling—

Will It Benefit Consumers?

Barry Krissoff and Fred Kuchler

Amber Waves

Demands for mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) for some retail food products have sparked considerable controversy. Proponents— primarily some cow-calf producer and fruit and vegetable grower/shipper associations—claim such labels would benefit consumers who are concerned about food safety, who wish to support U.S. producers, or who believe that U.S. foods are of higher quality than imports. Others—cattle feeder and hog finishing operators, meatpackers, processors, and retailers—argue that mandatory labeling will merely raise costs and bring few benefits.

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