The USDA is accepting comments on GMO labeling through July 17th. Tell USDA to label GMOs, not hide them behind high-tech codes!
We’ve fought for years for labeling of genetically engineered (GE or GMO) food. Now is our chance to finally get it.
As you may remember, a “compromise” bill on GMO labeling was passed last year, but a lot of the decisions about what foods would be labeled, and how they would be labeled, were left up to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The law includes labeling options other than on-package labeling, such as QR codes and websites, which would only serve to hide the information this law was passed to provide.
Big Ag and food companies have made it clear which option they support for labeling: QR codes. They know consumers don’t use these codes and that “labeling” via QR codes is really no labeling all. The agency has heard from big corporations – now they need to hear from you!
Only 64% of Americans own a smartphone. That means that more than a third of all Americans will not be able to access GMO information if products are labeled with QR codes. Moreover, those left out are disproportionately low income and those living in rural areas. According to Pew Research Center, only 50% of low income people in the U.S. own a smartphone; only 52% of rural Americans own a smartphone; and only 27% of seniors own a smartphone. Even those who do own smartphones are not guaranteed consistent access to the internet.At the end of the day, a substantial number of Americans would be deprived of their right to know if GMO labeling were implemented through QR codes.
In addition, electronic labeling disclosures put an undue burden on the shopper. It is completely unrealistic for a shopper to scan all of the many items s/he is shopping for on any given shopping trip (which for a family of 4 could easily amount to more than 50 items). This would be an undue burden on the consumer and would not provide the easy access to information that is currently required for all other forms of food labeling. On-package labeling is simple, quick, and effective. QR codes, websites, and 1-800 numbers are not.
USDA is also deciding which GMOs will get labeled.The labeling law should ensure that ALL foods produced through genetic engineering are labeled, not cave in to big ag’s pressure to avoid labeling their products through a deceptive, narrow definition of GMOs.
Thanks for everything you do,
The Center for Food Safety team
CFS welcomes your questions and comments. Please contact us at [email protected]