A vote has now passed to give the Senate’s approval for requiring genetically modified ingredients to be labeled.
The U.S. Senate just voted to approve a bill that would require GMO QR codes and other labeling. These new labels would identify products that contain genetically modified organisms among their ingredients. The bill is now headed to the House of Representatives.
The House is expected to pass the quick response codes and labeling bill for GMO foods as well.
Producers will be allowed to use GMO QR codes as a part of their labeling. In this way, consumers can use their smartphones or tablets to scan the quick response codes. The barcodes automatically direct device users to web pages containing information specific to the product.
That said, these QR codes have been the center of a considerable debate. For one thing, anything that has to do with genetically modified foods automatically involves a massive amount of controversy. That said, the idea of labeling these foods as a whole has been a matter of specific tension.
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Critics say labeling with GMO QR codes is unnecessary as science shows these foods are safe to eat.
Furthermore, people supporting labels say the labeling regulations are too vague. The bill allows food producers to use text, a symbol or QR codes to indicate that GMO ingredients are present. Many feel the QR codes are an excessive hurdle to consumers who want to inform themselves.
Many politicians who support the labels say forcing consumers to scan quick response codes places a barrier in the way. Instead of being able to obtain the information at a glance, the consumer would need to actively scan the barcode. This is a step few consumers would be likely to make.
For that reason, even politicians and organizations who feel that labeling GMO foods is an important step still dislike this bill. They have said it fails to provide adequate transparency. They argue that GMO QR codes don’t provide the immediate knowledge consumers require when making food purchasing choices. Those opposed to the barcodes feel the labels should be easy to identify, directly on the product without any additional technology or steps required.