Study of Electronic or Digital Disclosure

September 6, 2017

In compliance with the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (“the Law”), USDA, through Deloitte, has completed a study to identify potential technological challenges that may impact whether consumers would have access to the bioengineering disclosure through electronic or digital disclosure methods.

This study considers five factors:

  • The availability of wireless Internet or cellular networks;
  • The availability of landline telephones in stores;
  • Challenges facing small and rural retailers;
  • The efforts that retailers and other entities have taken to address potential technology and infrastructure challenges; and
  • The costs and benefits of installing in retail stores electronic or digital link scanners, or other evolving technology that provide bioengineering disclosure information


Summary of study results:

  • The majority of Americans own a smartphone (77%) and ownership rates are trending upward
  • Most Americans live in areas with sufficient broadband access (93.6%) to scan a digital link to access bioengineering food disclosure information
  • All national chain stores and most regional chain stores (97%) provide WiFi in store
  • Of small retailers, 37 percent already provide WiFi to consumers in store
  • Consumers may recognize digital links but lack familiarity with scanning
  • Many consumers (85%) experienced technical challenges using certain mobile software applications (“apps”) for scanning digital links
  • Scanning digital links requires access to the internet; therefore, some retailers may need to install WiFi networks for consumers without access to cellular data or local WiFi networks

To read the entire study, please view the Study of Electronic or Digital Disclosure (pdf) - this file is 40 MB

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