“10 Reasons Why GMO Smart Label Isn’t So Smart” – (Ecowatch)

Ah, the alternative media. The gift that keeps on giving. Today with another “10 reasons” list that amused me enough to dissect.


Here are the top 10 reasons the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s phony alternative to mandatory GMO disclosure on the packaging is not smart at all:

1.) Consumers Don’t Scan QR Codes: The number of consumers who scan QR codes to get information about products is low—and not growing. In general, most consumers simply don’t use smart phones at the point of sale. It’s just not how we shop for food.

Well, were off to a good start.

What a stupid argument. “That is not how we shop for food”. So, your to lazy to bother expending any effort at all into learning about a product. Hell, I knew that already (its why this first world organic craze exists to begin with. Ignorance). But this is ridiculous. Put it in front of me, or its just to much!

Christ. What would these people do without grocery stores.

2.)Many Consumers Don’t Have Smart Phones: More than 40 percent of consumers—especially low income, less educated and elderly consumers—don’t have phones that can scan QR codes. Installing scanners in every supermarket aisle would be costly for retailers and inconvenient for shoppers.

This is a fair point.

Just as everything moving onto the internet made life difficult for many non-tech savvy older people in the last decade or so, these increasingly ubiquitous QR codes are doing the same thing to many non-smartphone users.

But when it comes to those of the classes mentioned, at least 2 are questionable to ponder to begin with.

First of all, im not sure what is entailed by less educated people. Considering that many can operate smartphone and digital technology just fine. Have you seem Reddit?

As for seniors and low income folks, lets start with seniors. Many of them do not hold the same bias’s against genetic modification as many of the younger generations. Some likely due to experience or knowledge, and some due to a lack of knowledge on the subject. But a big part of the picture, is lack of exposure to the internet. A medium that can quickly stretch a topic with some legitimate issues, into an earth shattering, life altering conspiracy of epic proportions.

As for those on a low or fixed income (here we likely have some overlap into the senior category), I doubt that this GMO fear will much matter to them. Due to a great many of the alternatives being priced out of their range anyway.

3.) Consumers Won’t Know to Scan: There would be no prompt—like “scan here for GMO”—on the package, so consumers wouldn’t even know that scanning the code would give them more information about their food.

This is at the same time silly, AND basically a repeat of #1.

4.) GMO Information Hidden: Even if consumers did scan the code, GMO information would be hidden under “other” information and thedisclosure wouldn’t definitively tell consumers what they want to know—whether the food has GMO ingredients. And the Grocery Manufacturers Association admits that Smart Label would have no rules governing what is a GMO.

This seems more of an assumption than a potential problem. As the rules governing what a GMO is . . .here is another tricky thing. Not all genetic modification is equal, and as such, not all genetic modification is as prone to problems as other forms. Yet, it seems that many want it all represented by a label.

Even without trickery on the part of food companies, this is an immensely complex subject.

Anyway, as for the argument of the information being buried in the fine print. . . . though a pain, it is indeed there.
And likely in less characters than the average legal document one would be expected to read and sign (like a cellphone contract).

5.) Codes Hard to Scan: Scanners won’t work if the codes are too small or supermarkets are poorly lit and there are no rules that set minimum size requirements for QR codes. Plus, codes on bags—like a bag of potato chips—are very difficult to scan because they are not on a flat surface.

Then use a search engine. They are an invaluable tool. A tool that I personally sometimes utilize over 10 times daily.

Though I have to verify everything I find (which takes time), many interested in this information to begin with, will not have this worry. Thus making it just a little more difficult than worrying about the code.

6.) It’s Completely Voluntary: Food companies can choose whether or not to include a code on their packages and can drop out of the program at any time. That’s crazy.

Again, search engine.

7.) No Privacy Protections: When consumers scan codes, companies can collect data on their location and preferences—without the consumers’ knowledge or permission. And there are no rules that prohibit companies from using QR codes to advertise or offer coupons.

This is a somewhat good point. But its almost a moot point as well, being the number of other ways advertisers are already tracking your online habits. And its not even just advertisers. The very stores you shop at often use all sorts of tricks to manipulate you into spending, and are increasingly (with new technology) tracking you in order to do it even better.
One of the oldest methods, lies in those rewards cards (built in loyalty AND valuable market research!). How many people consider that when they swipe to collect. . . .miles, points, whatever.

Though privacy is a concern, these days, its pretty much a lost cause. If the scanning data from these things is going to be used to serve up coupons you might like . . . take them. Societal privacy may have gone the minute facebook went mainstream, but at least you can benefit by saving a couple bucks on something your gonna buy anyway.

8.) No Enforcement: Not only would Smart Label have no rules, it would have no enforcement. There is no way to know whether the codes would provide accurate information or whether in-store scanners (if there are any) would even work.

9.) No Deadlines: Smart Label would set no deadlines for companies to put codes on packages and no deadlines for them to update their data when products are reformulated to include GMO ingredients.

So, square 1. Where we are today.

Search engine?

10.) Consumers Want Clear Labels: Most importantly, consumers overwhelmingly want a mandatory GMO disclosure on the package, according to new polling by the Mellman Group. Consumer support for mandatory labeling on the package cuts across all demographic boundaries—even party affiliation.

I have no doubt.

With the amount of traffic that all of the distributors of anti-GMO information get online, its no wonder that the organic industry grew by 300%, and that many want mandatory labels.

And the end:

Just like the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s ill-fated Smart Choices initiative, Smart Label would make it harder, not easier, for consumers to learn basic facts about their food. It’s time for Big Food companies like Coca-Cola and General Mills to trust us to make our own decisions about what we feed our families.


This likely to fail system will not make it harder to learn about your food. Before it existed, search engines were here. And they will be here after it fails (if it does).

If your that worried about what your eating or feeding your family, then taking a bit of time to research all your foods of concern should be a priority. And if you can’t be bothered to take that step. . . why should anyone take your concerns seriously?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.