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Renae Geraldi, left, and C.J. Miller shop for groceries at Lorenzo's Supermarket in North Miami, Fla. - 


Renita Jablonski: A federal law goes into effect tonight requiring supermarkets to label the country of origin for fresh meat, produce and certain kinds of nuts. Sarah Gardner has that story from the Marketplace Sustainability Desk.

Sarah Gardner: Congress had passed the labeling law in 2002, but the government delayed implementation amid objections from the meat industry and big food chains. Now, however, shoppers will start seeing the mandatory labels on everything from T-bone steaks to peaches. Consumer advocates says Americans want to know where their food comes from, especially given recent food scares.

Jean Halloran at Consumers Union says it's also helpful to Americans who want to "buy local."

Jean Halloran: This is something that's of concern in terms of the carbon footprint of the product. How much fuel did it take to get it to you? Did it come from the other side of the world, or just a few states away?

The law will cost industry $2.5 billion the first year. A spokeswoman for the Food Marketing Institute says she expects that cost will be passed onto consumers. The labels don't apply to processed food or to meat and produce sold in smaller grocery stores.

I'm Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

Follow Sarah Gardner at @RadioGardner