National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson lauded today’s release of a University of Arkansas study that found U.S. consumers prefer meat from the U.S. when provided with a country-of-origin label, and urged Congress to respect consumers’ right to know where their food comes from by rejecting efforts to repeal Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL).
“Opponents of COOL have argued that it has no impact on consumers’ purchasing decisions,” said Johnson. “This study clearly shows the opposite: that consumers use COOL to draw inferences related to a food product’s safety, taste and freshness. NFU urges Congress to reject efforts to repeal the popular labeling law and instead focus on finding a solution to the recent World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute that maintains the integrity of COOL and continues to provide consumers with information they use to make informed decisions about what they eat.”
The study, authored by University of Arkansas marketing researchers, found that COOL provides consumers with additional information that has both direct and indirect effects on purchasing decisions.
“The (COOL) requirement impacts inferred attributes, such that meat products from the U.S are perceived to be safer, tastier, and fresher than meat products from Mexico,” notes the study. “These attribute inferences, in turn, have differentially positive effects on purchase intentions.”
Johnson noted that the U.S. Senate will soon weigh its options for meeting WTO obligations, and urged senators to ensure consumers maintain the ability to distinguish where their food comes from through a national country-of-origin labeling standard.
“As the Senate searches for a path forward for COOL, we urge them to consider this new study that clearly shows U.S. consumers care where their food comes from and that they use COOL to determine where it comes from,” he said.
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