Congress passed a bill last Thursday that would require all food companies to publicly disclose whether genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are present in their products. The bill is expected to be signed into law by President Obama and once implemented, the White House will have two years to create a labeling standard of genetically modified foods. While the new law would offer transparency in food labeling, many argue that it will also hinder progress in food technology by placing a negative label on all foods that have been genetically engineered, regardless of their health effects. The new label might appear as a symbol, plain text, or a Quick Response (QR) code that customers would have to scan (a practice that has fallen out of usage). According to Gary Hirshberg, founder of labeling organization Just Label It, the move is not “viable or even an honest disclosure.” Furthermore, large companies such as Monsanto might be at an advantage, as they have developed sophisticated gene-editing procedures that would fall out of the scope of GMO-labeling requirements.
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