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Abstract

In this paper, we assess consumer willingness to pay for a mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) program applied to beef ribeye steaks, chicken breasts, and pork chops, all labeled as “Certified U.S.” products. A consumer survey was mailed in spring and early summer 2003 to households in the continental United States. Results indicate that consumers are in general very concerned about food safety issues, viewing U.S. meats as the safest among the selection of countries considered. Nevertheless, consumer willingness to pay for Certified U.S. products is relatively small, although above the expected implementation costs associated with a mandatory labeling program. This finding coincides with the fact that only 36% of the sample favored consumers paying directly for the costs related to a mandatory COOL program.

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