Vilsack meme

Mr. Tom Vilsack
Secretary Of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250

November 6, 2015

Dear Secretary Vilsack,

I write on behalf of Citizens for GMO Labeling, GMO Action Alliance and GMO Free USA. Collectively we represent millions of consumers who wish to know whether genetically engineered ingredients are in their food. GMO labeling in the form of QR codes is not transparent, clear or acceptable.

Over the last four years, our organizations have been advocating for the labeling of genetically engineered food products at the state level. These citizen-led efforts have prompted legislatures in three states—Connecticut, Maine, and Vermont—to pass laws mandating disclosure of GMO content on food packaging.

In light of the recent passage of the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (HR 1599) by the House of Representatives, and with the Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on October 21 about the same legislation, we want to address your suggestion of QR codes as a substitute for GMO labeling.

If you agree that consumers have a right to know whether their food has been genetically engineered by using a QR code, then why not make it easier on consumers by simply labeling food packaging? QR codes are only accessible to those who can afford code-scanning technology, punishing the poor, elderly, disabled, and non-smart phone users by keeping them in the dark. In addition not every store that sells food will have access to the Internet and will make the option of code scanning obsolete. The burden of finding out or providing the information should not fall on the consumer or retailer’s shoulders.

As I’m sure you are aware, polls consistently show that an overwhelming consensus of more than 90 percent of Americans - across age, race, gender, education, income, region, or political affiliation – want mandatory on-packaging labeling. I hope you agree that supporting consumers’ right to know with this common sense approach is the best way forward.

Members of Citizens for GMO Labeling, the GMO Action Alliance, and GMO Free USA request a meeting with you to ensure that the interests of citizens remain at the center of this important discussion.

As it stands, we will not accept any federal solution that is less than the uniform standard passed by Connecticut, Maine, and Vermont for the mandatory labeling of all products containing GMOs.

I look forward to meeting with you to discuss this issue further.

Zofia Hausman
Co-founder, Citizens For GMO Labeling

About the Author
Tara Cook-Littman