January 29th, 2023
By Christopher Shilts.
On January 1st, 2022 The National Bio-engineered Food Disclosure Standard came into full effect. From that date on, food products that have been Genetically Modified were supposed to disclose that fact to customers.
I had been under the impression that if a loaf of bread didn’t say “Bio-engineered” or “Genetically Modified”, then it didn’t contain GMO’s. I have since found out that this isn’t the case.
You may have noticed a little QR code on food packaging, which is frequently referred to as a Smart Label. If you scan this label with your smart phone, it’s supposed to bring up a website that will disclose the presence of GMO’s in the product. This assumes you have a smart phone and an internet connection for it. I had to borrow my uncles’ smart phone to find out Frito brand Corn Chips are GMO. In the process I had to install an app, and figure out how to use it.
Smart Labels created for me a false belief that I was eating non-GMO foodstuffs when in fact it was GMO all along. For example, I have been purchasing Brownberry Bread for several months, paying a lot more with the expectation of eating non-GMO food. Today I noticed a smart label on my loaf. While I didn’t have a smart phone on hand, they were good enough to provide a phone number this time. I called, got a garbled automated message, and had to call back again. Sure enough, I’ve been paying extra money all this time for GMO bread.
Imagine if food labels could hide important allergy information behind a so-called “Smart Label”. How much mistrust would there be of the food supply, when people with allergies had to jump through all these extra hoops to find out if this product is dangerous to them? The truth is, we don’t know with certainty if Bio-engineered products are safe. But the public should have a right to know what they are eating. I don’t believe obfuscating this information behind a QR code, or special phone number is being transparent.