Maine’s history is rooted in agriculture, and Mainers care deeply about the food choices we make. We proudly stamp the foods grown here with the “Made in Maine,” or Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association-certified organic label. And we recently passed a law that would require the labeling of genetically engineered foods.

But as soon as this week, Congress could overrule our ability to require GMO foods to be labeled. Sen. Susan Collins can help protect our right to know what we are eating. We need her to stand up for us now.

As GMO crops and the ingredients made from them become more prevalent in our food chain, concerned eaters have good reason to want to know how their food was produced. And the stakes got even higher late last year when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved genetically engineered salmon, with no requirement that it be labeled.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association, huge junk-food companies and corporations like Monsanto and Dow Chemical are working hard to keep us in the dark about how our food was produced, despite years of polling showing that more than 90 percent of Americans want GMOs labeled.

And this industry pressure is working: In July 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (H.R. 1599), more appropriately dubbed “the Denying Americans the Right to Know Act.”

The DARK Act would prohibit all states from requiring labeling of GMOs; it would even block a GMO labeling law passed by the state of Vermont from taking effect in July.

Now the DARK Act is rearing its head in the U.S. Senate and will be heard Thursday in the Agriculture Committee. Sen. Collins has an important role to play in determining the future of Maine’s families’ right to know what’s in their food. She is under pressure to help pass this aggressive legislation that would forever take away Maine’s – and every other state’s – right to label GMOs.

There’s talk of a potential “compromise” that could come out of this week’s hearing, but like most things in D.C., the devil is in the details. Some ideas floating around include an elitist technology-reliant approach that would let companies try out a QR code system instead of requiring on-package labels.

If you’re asking, “What’s a QR code?” you’re not alone. And that’s a big part of what’s wrong with this idea. Big food companies want to forbid states from requiring clear on-package labeling of GMO products in favor of allowing companies the option to provide a bar code that a shopper would have to scan with an application downloaded to a smartphone in order to find out from the company’s website whether the product they want to buy contains GMOs.

This time-consuming process would be inconvenient for any shopper. But for the thousands who lack access to smartphones, like many seniors and low-income residents, a QR code system would block them from accessing information about their food. It’s unfair and absurd.

A Mellman Group public opinion poll released in December once again showed widespread support for mandatory GMO labeling among large majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents. But the poll of likely 2016 voters also found that 88 percent of respondents would prefer a printed GMO label on the food package, rather than use a smartphone app to scan a bar code. Just 17 percent said they have ever scanned a bar code to get information, and only 16 percent said they have ever scanned a QR code.

Everyone needs information to make informed food choices, not just those who have smartphones. There is no acceptable substitute for mandatory on-package labeling of GMO food.

On-package GMO labeling is not burdensome for companies and is certainly not unprecedented. Many American companies that export their products internationally already comply with mandatory labeling requirements in more than 60 countries. Mainers and all Americans should be able to access that same information on the package, without getting out our phones.

Sen. Collins must not cave to big out-of-state agribusiness interests. She must stand with Mainers by rejecting legislation that prevents states from requiring a clear, on-package label when foods contain GMO ingredients.

To make Mainers proud, Sen. Collins must reject the DARK Act and any legislation that threatens ready access to information about the food we eat and feed our families.