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Economists: A COOL approach to food

The vol. 23 (4) of Choices, a policy-oriented magazine published by the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (www.aaea.org), tackles the impact of implementing mandatory country-of-origin labeling, including the requirements of the new Final Rule for implementation released in mid-January by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The 2008 farm bill requires COOL for much of the food sold in the U.S. retail market, including beef, lamb, pork, chicken, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, peanuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts. While COOL is something that has been discussed for over a decade, the details of the requirements for implementation are still being determined, something that was evident in mid-January when the USDA issued its Final Rule for implementing COOL. In five separate articles, Choices analyzes the requirements outlined by the USDA, as well as the impact COOL will have on the beef, pork, and fruit and vegetable industries.

This theme is guest edited by Dawn Thilmany McFadden, professor of agricultural economics at Colorado State University.

"This Choices theme addresses the role that the extended debate about COOL may have in terms of creating a somewhat divisive industry response, discussions about the pros and cons faced by consumers and supply chain enterprises, implications for industry performance, and early indications of how the food industry and trade partners may respond," McFadden said.

Choices Editor Walter J. Armbruster said of this theme, "I am particularly pleased with the extra effort that our authors put into making these extremely timely analyses, incorporating changes released just last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture"

Also in this issue of Choices, a theme titled "Improving Public Policy Surrounding Land Use Changes" discusses the impact of policy decisions on land use changes and how urbanization interacts with agricultural production. In addition, an individual article analyzes the challenges of making a locally-owned ethanol plant a driver of rural development in a community.

Choices is an online peer-reviewed magazine published by AAEA for readers interested in the economic and policy issues which impact agriculture, the food industry, natural resources, rural communities, and the environment. Choices is published quarterly and is available free online at www.ChoicesMagazine.org.

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