We’ve all heard the debate about GMO labeling in recent months; some states oppose it, others are for it. While having a concise, clear label on packaged goods seems simple enough, the food, biotech, and other industries have been opposing labels regarding genetically modified ingredients at every turn. The fact is, regardless of what industry wants, almost 90% of consumers want to know if GMO’s are in the foods they eat according to a recent survey.
One possible solution? QR codes, or scannable bar codes, according to the Grocery Manufacturers Association. The new SmartLabel™ initiative would make a bar code available so that consumers can scan products for information using their smartphones. This is a voluntary program, however. Whether it would be effective or not is debatable considering it’s doubtful that some companies would disclose whether GMO’s are in their products – and it’s also nearly a given that not all would even participate.
While it seems like a good idea, there are a number of problems with QR codes and scanning. One, most consumers are not going to take the time to scan every food product they intend to purchase. Two, not everyone has a smartphone – particularly the elderly and those at lower income levels. According to Pew Research Center data, only about half of those who earn less than $30,000 in the U.S. own a smartphone. Of those who do, nearly half have encountered financial issues that resulted in letting their smartphone service lapse. So, are bar codes a good idea? Probably not, if they were to be used in place of GMO labels.
It seems the easiest solution is just to place a label right on the package. In some people’s opinions, the SmartLabel™ bar code is simply not a win-win, as many low income families and the elderly would be left in the dark in regards to transparency in the foods they eat.
REA JET understands consumers want to know what they’re eating. As a trusted provider of industrial printing equipment including ink jet, laser, and spray mark systems, we provide unsurpassed coding and marking solutions to dozens of industries including food, beverage, plastics, pharmaceutical, steel/metal, packaging, wood, and more.