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Obama Just Signed a GMO Labeling Law: Here’s What You’re Not Being Told.
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Last week, President Barack Obama signed legislation requiring manufacturers of genetically modified (GM) food to provide labeling on their products. But there’s just one problem — err, a couple problems . . . actually a lot of problems. There are a lot of problems with this bill.
The new law originated in the Senate as S. 764, “A bill to reauthorize and amend the National Sea Grant College Program Act, and for other purposes.” Lawmakers commonly insert policies on controversial issues into other, more amenable bills to keep them hidden and ensure their passage.
Sure enough, the new GM labeling bill, focused around a college program, contains language that appears, on its face, to address the concerns of millions of Americans regarding GM foods. While establishment institutions and experts insist they are safe, others worry not enough research has been conducted to guarantee as much.
While the lawmakers who crafted the bill, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), argue it is an appropriate compromise in response to fears surrounding GM products, food advocacy groups found multiple holes in its wording prior to the bill’s passage.
The first — and most contentious — is S. 764’s decree that food companies are not necessarily required to label genetically modified products in text form. While doing so is an option, according to the new law, food manufacturers may also choose to denote GM ingredients with a symbol or a QRC (quick response code) that, when scanned by a smartphone, will take the consumer to a website detailing further information about the product. The QRC method requires the consumer to have both a smartphone and access to the internet.