Study outlines challenges with electronic labeling of GE foods

The USDA has released the results of a study on the feasibility of using digital or electronic labeling to identify genetically engineered (GE) foods. The study was required as part of the 2016 GMO labeling law which requires disclosure of biotech ingredients in foods, but allows it to be done through QR codes or other electronic methods.

The study concludes consumers will face a number of technological challenges in using their smartphones and other devices to get the information. The report says an extensive educational campaign will be needed to implement the law.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association says it recognizes the challenges involved in digital disclosure, but has also found “most consumers would be able to access this information given the proper education and tools to do so”.

The Center for Food Safety says the study “confirms our concerns that digital disclosure is discriminatory and burdensome, as opposed to clear, on-package GE labeling”.

The GMO labeling law requires USDA to establish federal standards for labeling by July 2018.

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