The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is asking consumers to boycott brands that refuse to expressly label products made with genetically modified ingredients.
Nearly 500,000 people have signed a petition on buycott.com pledging to reject brands that use QR codes to tell consumers if genetically modified organisms, known as GMOs, are present in a product.
The code, which consumers scan with a smartphone, is one way companies will be able to meet the requirements of labeling legislation President Obama signed into law on Friday.
The federal law preempts states like Vermont from issuing or enforcing mandatory laws that require labels to expressly say “product contains GMOs.” It instead directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create a national labeling standard within two years that allows companies to use text, a symbol or scannable code.
“The bill allows corporations to hide information about GMOs behind confusing QR electronic barcodes that more than a third of Americans can’t even read because they don’t have smart phones or reliable internet service,” Ronnie Cummins, the OCA’s international director, said in a statement.
The OCA said product labels should expressly say if a product contains GMOs.
“This bill was paid for and written by corporations who clearly have something to hide,” Cummins said. “It’s incomprehensible that Obama, who on the campaign trail promised to label GMOs, and who issued an executive order directing Congress not to preempt state laws, succumbed to industry pressure to betrayed the 90 percent of Americans who want GMOs labeled.”