Sanders, Senate Dems skeptical of industry backed ‘SmartLabel’ for GMOs

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Senate Democrats are casting doubt on the feasibility of a new initiative from the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) aimed at labeling foods with genetically modified ingredients.

In a letter to the GMA Thursday, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jon Tester (D-Mt.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said the group’s voluntary SmartLabel program discriminates against a large segment of the population by relying on smartphone technology to give consumers the information they’re seeking online.

Because consumers would have to use their smartphones to scan a barcode or QR code on products while shopping, the senators want to know how GMA will ensure that consumers who don’t have smartphones — typically elderly, low-income or less-educated individuals — would be able to obtain the information. . .

“We worry that this initiative will instead make it more difficult for consumers to learn basic information about the food products they are buying, such as whether a product contains a specific allergen or whether the product uses genetically engineered ingredients.”

The lawmakers also expressed concerns about technical hurdles with various smartphone models on the market and consumer privacy, citing a recent poll from the Mellman Group, which found that 82 percent of consumers think food manufacturers should be restricted from collecting personal information, such as food choices and physical location. . .

GMA was asked to answer the lawmakers’ questions by Feb. 17.

 Read full, original post: Dem senators ‘troubled’ by GMO labeling system

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