After several months of bargaining which resulted in backroom arguments, the Senate decided to vote for a new national standard set for labeling food that are made with ingredients derived from genetically engineered crops. The purpose of the deal is that companies will be required to reveal their GMO ingredients (though they will not be required to put that information on the label).
Most food companies are opposed to the existing type of GMO label because they feel consumers will view them (incorrectly) as a sign or warning that the products are either nutritionally inferior or unsafe to eat.
If the new bill becomes law, food companies will be allowed to disclose the GMO ingredients used through a QR code that will be found on the package. That is the type of square barcode usually seen on an airline boarding pass. Consumers can scan the code to retrieve the information using their Smartphone. Smaller companies can print a Web address or a phone number where consumers can find out whether or not a product contains GMOs.
Many who advocate for GMO labeling have attacked the bill. The executive director of Food and Water Watch, Wenonah Hauter, released a statement branding it “a slap to the face for all of all activists” who worked to pass compulsory GMO labels. Senators representing Vermont have opposed the bill as it strikes down Vermont’ law that requires GMO labels right on a package.
Despite these setbacks the Senate’s proposal has endorsed support from the OTA (Organic Trade Association) an organization that represents major organic food enterprises and has been in support of labeling GMOs. The leaders of the Organic Trade Association sent a message explaining why they supported the bill to their members. They argued that the proposal contained key benefits for the organic industry.