Quantcast

10 Reasons Why GMO Smart Label Isn't 'Smart' at All

Food

Big Food’s new “Smart Label” proposal is no substitute for a simple GMO (genetically modified) disclosure on food packaging.

New polling by the Mellman Group shows that few consumers have ever scanned a QR (Quick Response) code and that nine of 10 consumers want a GMO label on the package—not a high tech gimmick.

Here are the top 10 reasons the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s phony alternative to mandatory GMO disclosure on the packaging is not smart at all:

  1. Consumers Don’t Scan QR Codes: The number of consumers who scan QR codes to get information about products is low—and not growing. In general, most consumers simply don’t use smart phones at the point of sale. It’s just not how we shop for food.

  1. Many Consumers Don’t Have Smart Phones: More than 40 percent of consumers—especially low income, less educated and elderly consumers—don’t have phones that can scan QR codes. Installing scanners in every supermarket aisle would be costly for retailers and inconvenient for shoppers.

  1. Consumers Won’t Know to Scan: There would be no prompt—like “scan here for GMO”—on the package, so consumers wouldn’t even know that scanning the code would give them more information about their food.

  1. GMO Information Hidden: Even if consumers did scan the code, GMO information would be hidden under “other” information and the disclosure wouldn’t definitively tell consumers what they want to know—whether the food has GMO ingredients. And the Grocery Manufacturers Association admits that Smart Label would have no rules governing what is a GMO.

  1. Codes Hard to Scan: Scanners won’t work if the codes are too small or supermarkets are poorly lit and there are no rules that set minimum size requirements for QR codes. Plus, codes on bags—like a bag of potato chips—are very difficult to scan because they are not on a flat surface.

  1. It’s Completely Voluntary: Food companies can choose whether or not to include a code on their packages and can drop out of the program at any time. That’s crazy.

  1. No Privacy Protections: When consumers scan codes, companies can collect data on their location and preferences—without the consumers’ knowledge or permission. And there are no rules that prohibit companies from using QR codes to advertise or offer coupons.

  1. No Enforcement: Not only would Smart Label have no rules, it would have no enforcement. There is no way to know whether the codes would provide accurate information or whether in-store scanners (if there are any) would even work.

  1. No Deadlines: Smart Label would set no deadlines for companies to put codes on packages and no deadlines for them to update their data when products are reformulated to include GMO ingredients.

  1.  Consumers Want Clear Labels: Most importantly, consumers overwhelmingly want a mandatory GMO disclosure on the package, according to new polling by the Mellman Group. Consumer support for mandatory labeling on the package cuts across all demographic boundaries—even party affiliation.

Just like the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s ill-fated Smart Choices initiative, Smart Label would make it harder, not easier, for consumers to learn basic facts about their food. It’s time for Big Food companies like Coca-Cola and General Mills to trust us to make our own decisions about what we feed our families.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

90% of American Moms Want Labels on GMO Food

Michael Pollan: It’s Time to Choose Climate-Friendly Food

27 Examples of Journalists Failing to Disclose Sources as Funded by Monsanto

Costco and Red Lobster Say No to GMO Salmon

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Wesley Martinez Da Costa / EyeEm / Getty Images

By David R. Montgomery

Would it sound too good to be true if I was to say that there was a simple, profitable and underused agricultural method to help feed everybody, cool the planet, and revitalize rural America? I used to think so, until I started visiting farmers who are restoring fertility to their land, stashing a lot of carbon in their soil, and returning healthy profitability to family farms. Now I've come to see how restoring soil health would prove as good for farmers and rural economies as it would for the environment.

Read More Show Less
skaman306 / Moment / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Radish (Raphanus sativus) is a cruciferous vegetable that originated in Asia and Europe (1Trusted Source).

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Tinnakorn Jorruang / iStock / Getty Images

By Dan Nosowitz

The budding research on cannabidiol, or CBD, attracts a great deal of interest in the agricultural field.

Read More Show Less
Oksana Khodakovskaia / iStock / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

The loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a tree native to China that's prized for its sweet, citrus-like fruit.

Read More Show Less

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released new numbers that show vaping-related lung illnesses are continuing to grow across the country, as the number of fatalities has climbed to 33 and hospitalizations have reached 1,479 cases, according to a CDC update.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
During the summer, the Arctic tundra is usually a thriving habitat for mammals such as the Arctic fox. Education Images / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Reports of extreme snowfall in the Arctic might seem encouraging, given that the region is rapidly warming due to human-driven climate change. According to a new study, however, the snow could actually pose a major threat to the normal reproductive cycles of Arctic wildlife.

Read More Show Less
Vegan rice and garbanzo beans meals. Ella Olsson / Pexels

By Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

One common concern about vegan diets is whether they provide your body with all the vitamins and minerals it needs.

Many claim that a whole-food, plant-based diet easily meets all the daily nutrient requirements.

Read More Show Less
A fracking well looms over a residential area of Liberty, Colorado on Aug. 19. WildEarth Guardians / Flickr

A new multiyear study found that people living or working within 2,000 feet, or nearly half a mile, of a hydraulic fracturing (fracking) drill site may be at a heightened risk of exposure to benzene and other toxic chemicals, according to research released Thursday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)

Read More Show Less