On July 7, the Senate passed a bill to label genetically modified foods allowing companies to use QR codes instead of words on the package. It discriminates against low income families, minorities, mothers, seniors, the disabled & those without smartphones.
In 2007 President Obama said, “We’ll let folks know whether their food has been genetically modified because Americans should know what they’re buying.”
ALL Americans should know what they're buying, not just the privileged.
Only 21% of Americans surveyed have scanned QR codes; QR code software must be downloaded. Just 27% of seniors & 50% of low income Americans own smartphones. 42% of Blacks & 36% of Latinos have had to let their smartphone service lapse. President Obama: Stand up for ALL Americans. Veto this discriminatory bill.
Response to Petition
In recent years, Americans have expressed increased interest in understanding how their food is produced -- including whether it was produced using bioengineering (sometimes referred to as genetically modified organisms or GMOs).
This Administration is well aware of that interest, and we take it seriously.
As mentioned in this petition, earlier in July, both the Senate and the House passed a bill to require food manufacturers to disclose whether food includes ingredients that have been bioengineered. The legislation provides flexibility for companies to choose from the following options:
- A text statement or symbol directly on the food packaging itself indicating bioengineered ingredients
- A digital QR (Quick Response) code that customers can scan with their smartphone if they want to learn about bioengineered ingredients
- Smaller companies could also offer a phone number or URL on the package that consumers can access for more info
Before the new disclosure program is put in place, the law calls for a study to be conducted to assess whether challenges exist related to consumers' access to electronic disclosures. If USDA determines that consumers would not have sufficient access to the information, the bill directs USDA to provide for alternative methods of disclosure. USDA will do everything possible to ensure that the program provides information in an equitable way.
Today, the President signed this legislation. While there is broad consensus that foods produced using bioengineering are safe, we appreciate the bipartisan effort to address consumers' interest in knowing more about their food, including whether it includes bioengineered ingredients. You can learn more about this legislation here or email questions to GMOlabeling@ams.usda.gov.
Through the USDA's National Organic Program, consumers can already identify food that was produced without any genetically engineered ingredients. Whenever you see the USDA Organic seal (seen here), it means that the food was grown without the use of prohibited pesticides, genetic engineering, synthetic fertilizers, or irradiation.
Your voice and input will be important throughout the implementation process of this legislation and in helping design the best disclosure program possible.
USDA has established a working group to develop a timeline for rulemaking and to ensure an open and transparent process for effectively establishing this new program. We are committed to providing multiple opportunities for engagement, such as listening sessions and the opportunity for the public to provide written comments. This process will ensure you have the opportunity to provide the Executive Branch with input on the attributes of the bioengineered food disclosure program as it is developed.
We look forward to your continuous engagement and will keep you posted here as these opportunities arise.
-- The We the People Team