USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack is offering this idea to deal with the controversy over labeling GMO products: Use your smartphone.
Vilsack suggested that consumers “could just use their phones to scan special bar codes or other symbols on food packages.” A variety of information could be made available, including whether the food product includes genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.
“The Food and Drug Administration handles most food-package labeling, so Vilsack’s idea isn’t an official proposal. But the Agriculture secretary suggested it could head off the debate between the food industry and those who have pushed for package labels that identify GMOs.”
But labeling advocates are not buying into Secretary Vilsack’s idea. According to Scott Faber, who leads a national labeling effort,
“Consumers shouldn’t have to have a high-tech smartphone and a 10-gigabyte data plan to know what’s in their food.”
There is some indication that food companies are considering voluntary measures that would incorporate smart technologies. (The FDA does not currently require labeling for GMO foods). Stay tuned.