The new GMO labeling bill signed into law by President Barack Obama last month is one of the biggest hot-button issues to rock the food labeling industry this year. The bill, which on the surface appears to promote transparency for GMO-conscious consumers, has drawn criticism from some corners for being too soft. Now, citing what he believes is it’s “fundamentally anti-consumer” nature, Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn, is calling for the bill to be repealed.
The new law mandates that all manufacturers must label their packaging with 1-800 numbers, QR codes or bar codes that consumers could scan on a smart device for more information. But critics, like Blumenthal and Senator Bernie Sanders D-VT, have strong reservations about the federal GMO regulations, which will nullify all GMO labeling rules on the state level.
“As a consumer and a dad, I want to know what my family is eating,” Blumenthal said. “Websites, phone numbers and barcodes = nearly impossible to access while standing in a grocery aisle with a child – create cumbersome hurdles for consumers and fall far short of providing families what they need to make educated and informed choices about what they want to put on their dinner table.”
No stranger to the GMO labeling debate, Blumenthal’s home state was among the first in the nation to pass a law requiring manufacturers to put GMO labeling on their packages, which carried a provision that the law would not go into effect unless some of the surrounding states followed suit. Vermont was one of the states that did so, with a stringent GMO law of its own that was set to take effect on July, 1.
Although the likelihood of a repeal of the new GMO labeling bill is slim, Blumenthal stresses that national polls continue to show Americans favoring the strict labeling of GMO foods.