When Obama passed a GMO labeling law in July, it became the first bill of this kind in history. The law itself was two years in the making, it will follow Vermont’s GMO labeling law and it will go country-wide. The law received mixed opinions by both politicians and the public that demanded more rigid and strict rules. To put it as shortly as possible, GMO labeling law requires some sort of insignia, whether a label or a QR code stating that a product contains GMO ingredients.
Vermont is the first US state that passed a GMO labeling law. Every company is required to disclose all the data about the possible GMO ingredients in each they sell in this state. Even though this law is exactly what the public wants (as a matter of fact, 90% or surveyed citizens clearly stated that they wish to know if there are GMO ingredients in the foods they are buying), it seems that Vermont’s GMO labeling law has a couple of flaws.
QR codes weren’t a part of the labeling law in the first place but Obama’s revised version supports them and now QR codes are allowed as well. So in order to find out all the ingredients in a product, you have to scan a code with your smartphone. This decision received a lot of criticism from the public due to the fact that not everyone has time to scan each product separately and it can get a bit tiresome. It is a waste of time for many shoppers and despite the general presumption, smartphones are not so common.
So the GMO labeling law became almost useless even though it was a great idea in the beginning. Transparency is very important when it comes to the relationship between GMO products and the consumers. The United States already produces large quantities of GMO foods that are sold on a daily basis. The research of the GMO ingredients that can be found in certain foods did not show any negative results, but people are still a bit wary about the genetically modified foods they might be consuming.
This distrust for the certain food manufacturing companies comes from the fear of the unknown. So in order to gain more support from the public, food manufacturers should disclose the ingredients regardless of their origin. This is the best way to teach the public about GMO foods and show them there is nothing to fear. Believe it or not, a vast number of people are not even aware they consume GMO products every single day and they might even claim that they eat organic foods. Education of the consumers is everything if we want to move on and develop more efficient and pest resistant food products that will be cheaper and easier to produce, and full disclosure is crucial. So GMO labeling law looks like something that will aid this mission. However, it seems that the public is not in favor of QR codes, so we should simply wait and see how many companies will use them on their products.