OPIOID SERIES:

Dems push clearer GMO labeling

Dems push clearer GMO labeling
© Getty Images

Senate Democrats are pushing the Agriculture Department to create a labeling standard for products made with genetically modified organisms (GMO) that is consumer-friendly.

Congress passed a law in July ordering the agency to create a national labeling standard within two years.

The law allows food producers to use QR codes that can be scanned with smartphone. In a letter Tuesday led by Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyOvernight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes 32 male senators back Senate women's calls to change harassment rules Duckworth brings her baby to Senate vote, drawing a crowd MORE (D-Ore.), nine Democrats and Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersHannity snaps back at 'Crybaby' Todd: 'Only conservatives have to disclose relationships?' Chuck Todd lashes out at Fox, defends wife in radio interview Trump pressed Sessions to fire FBI agents who sent anti-Trump texts: report MORE (I-Vt.) asked Agriculture Secretary Sonny PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin PerdueFarm technology is getting CRISPR Kill off anti-environmental excesses in the farm bill The Hill's Morning Report: Hannity drawn into Cohen legal fight MORE to consider the obstacles Americans could face in gaining that information electronically.

ADVERTISEMENT
The senators noted that a recent study required by the law found around 74 million Americans did not own a smartphone in 2016. 

“Smartphone ownership is even lower among older and rural Americans, and many rural communities lack the broadband infrastructure that is necessary for QR codes to work,” they wrote.

The senators recommended QR codes and other electronic disclosure methods not be used until broadband internet access is universal.

They also recommended it be obvious that the QR code, phone number or other disclosure is leading the consumer to information on genetically modified ingredients and that grocery stores be required to provide QR code scanners in every aisle.