December 2015 – Public demand for mandatory GMO/GE labeling has reached a critical mass. A super-majority (90+%) of Americans want clear and conspicuous labeling of genetically engineered food ingredients. Several Northeast states have passed – and more are about to pass – uniform standards for mandatory GMO labeling (Vermont is scheduled to go into effect in July 2016). The federal government is being pressured to follow suit and join with 64 other countries which grant their citizens this basic piece of factual information.
However, the chemical/junk food companies benefit greatly from a lack of transparency in the food economy, and have such great influence on our federal government. They are attempting to redirect momentum for simple mandatory GMO labeling toward the non-solutions of voluntary non-GMO labeling and complicated technology-based information systems (QR codes).
10 reasons why voluntary non-GMO labeling and “QR codes” are not good enough:
1. Most U.S. consumers erroneously believe that “natural” on a package means “non-GMO.” Only mandatory GMO labeling will clear up this confusion.
2. Non-GMO labeling puts the burden of costly testing and supply chain tracking on manufacturers of non-GMO food products, whereas biotech food producers should know if their supply chain includes (or may include) GE ingredients.
3. Only mandatory GMO labeling will allow consumers to pick up any product and know whether it is genetically engineered.
4. Not everyone knows how prevalent GE ingredients are in our food supply to begin with. With voluntary labeling, a majority of products will have no indication of GE status and will leave entire segments of the population in the dark about what they’re eating.
5. Consumers shouldn’t have to rely on a piece of technology to interpret a food label. QR codes will add another layer of effort for consumers and will not be equally accessible to everyone. Even if they are able to use the code, consumers will then have to sift through an abundance of information and decipher euphemisms for “genetically engineered food.”
6. A third of Americans, many of whom are low-income or live in rural areas with poor internet access, don’t own smart-phones and won’t be able to use QR codes.
7. Privacy concerns will dissuade many from using QR codes out of fear that companies will have access to personal information.
8. According to a recent Mellman poll, 88% of consumers would prefer a printed GMO label on the food package rather than use a smart-phone app to scan a bar code.
9. Just17% of consumers said they have scanned a bar code for information, and only 16% said they have scanned a “QR” code.
10. Finally, if companies can go through the trouble of adding QR codes to labels, gathering all the information and setting up special websites, the cost of labeling is obviously not a factor: 2 plain English words will give people the basic information they’re demanding – “genetically engineered.”
Update, December 21, 2015: Thanks to countless phone calls and emails WE made to Congress, transparency opponents were unable to gain enough support for the DARK Act policy “rider,” which would have outlawed mandatory GMO labeling. Thank you for taking action!
Congress is also halting the sale of GMO salmon, recently approved by the FDA, until the federal agency requires mandatory GMO labeling of the fish. This is a positive sign that the federal government is open to labeling GMOs.
Our opposition will be working overtime to bring the “DARK Act” back to life when Congress returns to work in January. They don’t want Vermont’s GMO labeling bill to go into effect in July, so they will try anything to stop it.
This is our chance to build on our momentum and say NOW is the time for a national mandatory GMO labeling bill.
Please send a message to your members of Congress thanking them for stopping the “DARK Act” rider and asking them to pass a national mandatory, on package GMO labeling law in the new year.
Take action, here: marighttoknow.org/GrassRootsWin