Country of Origin Labeling: History and Public Choice Theory

November 2009

64 Food and Drug Law Journal 693-716 (2009).

Country-of-origin labeling (COOL) is finally experiencing a second wind, nearly 120 years after it was first enacted in the United States. Congress recently passed, and the federal government is now in the process of implementing, new geographic origin labeling requirements on a variety of foods, above and beyond marking requirements already firmly established in federal law. That many aspects of the new legislation―the covered foods, the affected parties, and the method of implementation―have never before been envisioned on a national scale perhaps is not a surprise. Only the globalization of the last few decades, characterized by reduced trade barriers, rapid scientific and technological advances, and improved transportation networks, has added anything of real substance to the existing array of food and product safety concerns America has historically confronted.


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