(Washington, D.C.) The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) issued the following statement on the USDA study of electronic or digital disclosure.
“The report recognizes the challenges and opportunities for the consumer to access ingredient information through electronic and digital links, and found that ‘most consumers would be able to access this information given the proper education and tools to do so.’”
“GMA strongly supports consumers having tools and information to make informed decisions about the products they buy and use. A consumer education campaign will be a vital part of the implementation and rollout of the bioengineering disclosure regulations.”
When evaluating the report’s findings, it is also worth noting the following:
· QR codes are one of the growing ways consumers can access more information about their product purchases. Almost every smart device and hundreds of apps can read them. There are over 215 QR code readers in the Apple Store, and Apple has announced that its upcoming updated mobile operating system, iOS 11, will give iPhone cameras a built-in utility to read QR codes.
· The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law requires that the appearance of a QR code used for the purpose of disclosing information about agricultural bioengineered ingredients in a product must be accompanied by text on the label that instructs the consumer to “Scan here for more food information.” This addresses a point in the report that consumers may not know what the QR code is for.
· The U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2016 research by the Food Marketing Institute shows that 20% of shoppers already scan QR codes or traditional barcodes of grocery items – and another 36% are interested in doing so. This shows technology’s increased role in the shopping experience and the diversity of ways shoppers obtain data on products.
· It is estimated that approximately 80% of consumers will own Smart phones by 2018 and that number is only expected to increase.
· SmartLabel™, the digital and electronic disclosure initiative, already is used by more than 14,000 food, beverage, personal care and household products from more than 35 companies – and that number is growing daily.
“The USDA study on electronic and digital disclosure of bioengineered food products is an important part of the agency’s work to develop a proposed rule for the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law. We look forward to reviewing its findings in greater detail.”
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) is the trade organization representing the world’s leading food, beverage and consumer products companies and associated partners. The U.S. food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry plays a unique role as the single largest U.S. manufacturing employment sector, with 2.1 million jobs in 30,000 communities across the country that deliver products vital to the wellbeing of people in our nation and around world. Founded in 1908, GMA has a primary focus on product safety, science-based public policies and industry initiatives that seek to empower people with the tools and information they need to make informed choices and lead healthier lives. For more information, visit gmaonline.org.