Traceability And Country Of Origin Labelling
Country of origin labelling (COOL) on food products is controversial. There is disagreement over whether consumers value information on country of origin intrinsically or as a quality or a safety signal. The debate becomes more heated when country of origin labelling is mandated by regulation, with fears that the regulation is driven by producer rather than consumer interests. Country of origin labelling has implications for traceability systems in agrifood supply chains. The ability to provide consumers with information on the country of origin requires a basic level of traceability, although does not necessarily imply full traceability throughout the supply chain to the farm. This paper examines the role of traceability and identity preservation systems in marketing agrifood products, focusing on the underlying economic functions of traceability systems. Voluntary versus mandatory labelling of country of origin and/or traceability becomes a question of determining if consumers value this information and whether a market failure exists in providing this information. The table implications of mandatory country of origin labelling are explored within this context.
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