Dems push clearer GMO labeling

Dems push clearer GMO labeling
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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 MerkleyThe border deal: What made it in, what got left out Lawmakers introduce bill to fund government, prevent shutdown Dems wary of killing off filibuster MORE (D-Ore.), nine Democrats and Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSanders expected to announce exploratory committee next week Bernie Sanders records announcement video ahead of possible 2020 bid Bill Maher to Dems: ‘Let’s not eat our own’ in 2020 MORE (I-Vt.) asked Agriculture Secretary Sonny PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin PerdueSenate buzz grows for Abrams after speech electrifies Dems Energy Secretary Rick Perry is designated survivor for 2019 State of the Union Live coverage: Trump delivers State of the Union MORE to consider the obstacles Americans could face in gaining that information electronically.

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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.