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Memo on the Discriminatory Nature of QR Codes and the DARK Act

March 15th, 2016
Center for Food Safety

QR codes are inherently discriminatory to the poor, the elderly, the rural and minorities.

  • Half of low-income people do NOT have smartphones
  • Almost half of rural Americans do NOT own a smartphone[i]
  • Only 16% have EVER scanned a QR code and only 3% of those people do it regularly[ii]
  • QR codes and 1-800 numbers place an undue burden on shoppers who want to know what is in their food
  • Nearly half (48%) of smartphone-dependent Americans have had to cancel or shut off their cell phone service for a period of time because the cost of maintaining that service was a financial hardship[iii]

 Minorities represent an overwhelming part of the food movement.[iv]

  • CA Prop 37 - the ballot initiative in California to propel labeling of GE foods
  • 56% of African Americans voted yes
  • 61% of Latinos and Asians voted yes
  • Overall support for GE Labeling:
  • 79% African Americans
  • 74% Latinos

U.S. courts have recognized a fundamental “right-to-know” rooted in the individual rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and by common law.

  • Unlabeled genetically engineered (GE) foods are misleading and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a duty to prevent consumer deception by requiring that certain information be disclosed.

FDA already requires the labeling of nearly 4,000 ingredients, additives, and processes.

  • Labels do not depict a “skull and crossbones” as some claim nor are labels only required for foods that have been proven dangerous.
  • In the U.S., we do not label dangerous foods; we take them off the market.

[i] U.S. Smartphone Use in 2015: Chapter One: A Portrait of Smartphone Ownership. Aaron Smith. Pew Research Center. April 1, 2015.
[ii] Findings From A National Survey Of Likely 2016 General Election Voters November 2015. Mark Mellman. The Mellman Group, USA. Dec, 2, 2015.
[iii] US Smartphone US in 2015. Pew Research Center. Aaron Smith. April 1, 2015.
[iv] Big Food Discriminates Against the Poor by Pushing QR Codes to Label GMOs. Rebecca Spector. Alternet, USA. Dec. 7. 2015

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