By Colin O’Neil, Center for Food Safety
Over 85% of the American public wants the labeling of genetically engineered foods. But recently a majority of the House of Representatives decided to protect the bottom line of corporations such as Monsanto and ignore the will of the people. They voted for a controversial bill that’s been dubbed the “Deny Americans the Right to Know Act” or “DARK Act,” which is designed to forever prohibit any state of federal labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. Congress has returned from its August recess and the agribusiness and chemical corporation bullies have recruited Senator Hoeven, a Republican from North Dakota, to try and get a Senate version of the DARK Act introduced and passed. It is critical that we stop this anti-democratic law once and for all. We have a right to know what we are eating and feeding our families.
Here are 5 key reasons we oppose the DARK Act:
- The DARK Act is profoundly undemocratic. It would rescind state GE food labeling laws already passed in Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine. And it would potentially block GMO prohibitions in numerous counties around the country and up to 150 other laws and regulation that regulate GMOs to some extent passed at the state and local level. This represents an unprecedented usurpation of the democratic will of tens of millions of Americans.
- The DARK Act would also prevent the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from establishing a national mandatory labeling standard for GE foods. Currently the FDA is considering a formal legal petition requesting the agency to require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods and providing a legal blueprint on how to do it. The petition, written by CFS attorneys, is now supported by over 1.5 million people, who have written to FDA urging the agency to grant it. Rather than allow the FDA to decide on the petition the DARK act would short circuit this process and permanently prevent the FDA from doing its job in requiring labels on GE foods.
- 64 countries around the world already require GE foods to be labeled including Russia, China, Japan, Brazil and the members of the European Union. The U.S. population wants the same right to know as the citizens of all these countries.
- The FDA requires the labeling of over 3,000 ingredients, additives and processes including juice when it’s from concentrate and foods that have been irradiated. GE food labeling should be no different.
- The DARK Act was written by agribusiness and the chemical industry in order to protect their profits as a leaked memo from the Grocery Manufacturers Association reveals. The corporations want to keep us eating in the dark and not be able to choose to avoid GE foods that offer us only risks and no benefits. At the chemical industry’s behest, the Act would also further weaken federal regulation of GMOs, while preempting state regulation and labeling.
As Senator Hoeven pushes to introduce a Senate version of the DARK Act he is still waiting for a Democrat to join him. So far no Senate Democrat has agreed to add his or her name to this anti-consumer/anti-farmer/anti-environmental bill. Click below to tell Senator Hoeven to stop trying to halt our right to know and to make sure your Senator doesn’t join this bill.