Fresh Produce:

Potential Implications of Country-of-Origin Labeling

T-RCED-99-200: Published: May 26, 1999. Publicly Released: May 26, 1999.

Additional Materials:


Lawrence J. Dyckman
(202) 512-9692


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the labeling requirements for fresh produce, focusing on: (1) the potential costs associated with the compliance and enforcement of a mandatory country-of-origin labeling requirement at the retail level for fresh produce; (2) the potential trade issues associated with such a requirement; (3) the potential impact of such a requirement on the ability of the federal government and the public to respond to outbreaks of illness caused by contaminated fresh produce; and (4) consumers' views of country-of-origin labeling.

GAO noted that: (1) the magnitude of compliance and enforcement costs for mandatory country-of-origin labeling for fresh produce at the retail level would depend on several factors, including the extent to which labeling practices would have to be changed; (2) in addition, enforcement would be difficult; (3) labeling could be viewed by other countries as a trade barrier if, for example, they are concerned that additional costs may be incurred by their exporters; (4) because of the time lag between the outbreak of an illness and the identification of the cause, labeling would be of limited value in responding to produce-related outbreaks of illnesses; (5) surveys indicate that most people favor country-of-origin labeling; and (6) however, they rate information on freshness, nutrition, handling and storage, and preparation tips as more important.

May 26, 2016

May 19, 2016

Apr 14, 2016

Jan 14, 2016

Jan 8, 2016

Jul 9, 2015

Jun 18, 2015

May 26, 2015

May 20, 2015

May 7, 2015

Looking for more? Browse all our products here