Giving Consumers Information about GMOs with SmartLabel™

Friday, March 3, 2017
By: Roger Lowe, Grocery Manufacturers Association, and AgVocate, EVP
Roger Lowe - AgVocacy Forum

The entire food chain – farmers, processers, manufacturers and retailers – is facing an ever-increasing demand by consumers for more information on their food and beverage products.


Consumers want to know about what they are purchasing; what’s in their product, what the ingredients do, why they are in the product, where they came from and so much more. It’s clear that this desire for so much information far exceeds the space available on any package label.


That’s where digital disclosure and SmartLabel™ come in.


SmartLabel™ is the beginning of a new era of transparency. This digital transparency initiative launched by manufacturers and retailers puts ingredient details right at the fingertips of consumers via a computer, smartphone or a company database. It gives consumers access to more information than could ever fit on a package label.


It will be a key way to comply with the new federal GMO disclosure law. The federal law will require brands to disclose GMO information, and allows them to do it in one of three ways: text on a package, a symbol or through a digital link such as SmartLabel™.


SmartLabel™ enables consumers to get more background about GMOs, what they are and that they are safe in their food and beverage products. This is important for growers because giving consumers all of this additional information about GMOs through SmartLabel™ reduces the likelihood that critics will use an unclear GMO package label to stigmatize a perfectly safe product.


It’s also important to know that SmartLabel™ is much more than GMOs; it also provides other kinds of information related to food, beverage, personal care, household and pet care products.


While the federal law doesn’t go into effect until 2018, companies are already rolling out SmartLabel™ now in many ways for many products. More than 5,100 products are using SmartLabel™ – and they are from 26 manufacturers and retailers and 190 brands. Our goal is 34,000 products by the end of this year.


The importance of giving consumers tools and educational material to make decisions about the food, beverage, personal care and household products they buy is why our industry launched SmartLabel™ – and why I AgVocate for the Future.


The world population is expected to reach nearly 9.6 billion by 2050, and producing enough healthy and nutritious food for all will require collaboration and engagement across the ag sector and beyond.  It is important for everyone who plays a role in this important work to #AgVocate by sharing their story. Be sure to check out the other participants’ blogs as they #AgVocate. Monday’s post will be hosted by Jeremy Brown, Texas organic crop farmer, Broadview Agriculture Inc., to discuss the importance of AgVocating beyond the farm gate.


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