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Kogod in the Media/October 2010


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Food Labels Should Focus on Potential Harm Rather than Benefits

A recent report from the Institute of Medicine says that food companies and retailers put too much emphasis on the good nutrients in their products, and not enough on the bad. The report is meant to help Congress and the Food and Drug Administration decide what to do about food labels that don’t make the potentially harmful nutrients they contain obvious, according to a recent article in the New York Times.

Professor Anusree Mitra, chair of Kogod’s Marketing Department, is a member of the Institute of Medicine committee that issued the report.

The committee’s report focused on package-front labels, which are readily visible to buyers and tend to emphasize things like vitamins or fiber content while ignoring the less beneficial qualities of a product, like high sodium or trans fats.

Professor Mitra and her colleagues’ research suggests that labels on the front of food packaging should actually do the opposite, immediately showing buyers that a product has nutrients that may promote obesity, heart disease, or diabetes and excluding information about beneficial nutrients. View Full Article (10/13/10)

Kogod Professor Gerald Martin and Warren Buffett Ponder the Euro

Billionaire and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Warren Buffett recently said the euro faces “a real challenge” after it posted its biggest quarterly gain in eight years, according to an article in Bloomberg Businessweek.

The currency gained 11 percent in three months ending on September 30, while the European Union attempted to address Europe’s fiscal crisis with a 750 billion euro ($1.04 trillion) bailout. That might not be enough to fix the region’s fiscal problems, though, said Buffett.

Buffett told Berkshire investors in May that with common currencies, such as the euro, come risks. He said that countries that are unable to set their own monetary policies run a higher risk of defaulting; “You don’t default when you can print your own money,” he said.

Kogod finance professor Gerald Martin told Businessweek that Buffett might get into currencies again. “He may think that the euro’s gotten too strong and there’s more than likely only one way to go,” he said.

Buffett has previously bet against the dollar in 2005 and 2006. In September 2006, Berkshire’s so-called foreign-currency forward contracts fell to $1.1 billion from $21.5 billion in June 2005. The contracts allowed Berkshire to purchase foreign currencies on a future date at a preset price. View Full Article (10/13/10)

Kogod Combats Economic Troubles with New Tax Research Center

Although economic troubles began in New York, Washington has become the epicenter as people look to politicians to solve the problem. As high power Washington players lobby their respective plans, local schools have created solutions of their own.

Local schools, such as American University, responded to the economic troubles by creating research centers to highlight the correlation between business and the Capitol. At the Kogod School of Business, Dean Richard Durand announced the opening of a research center on tax policy to launch early next year. The center will also house the current Master of Science in Taxation degree.

Dean Durand, speaking to The Washington Post, views the center as very relevant and necessary, “Every time you get a new president, there are vast changes in tax interpretation, so what we’re really finding is the industry is looking for true experts in very specific areas.”

In addition to preparing their students for graduation, this trend of extension among business schools serves another purpose. Today, the competition for the best students and tuition has resulted in the business schools striving to differentiate themselves from other business schools. View Full Article (10.8.2010)