Representative Pompeo has introduced a bill, HR 1599, that would prohibit state efforts to require labeling of genetically engineered foods (GMOs).
This is Monsanto’s dream bill — it would allow big corporations that make and use GMOs to continue to hide them from consumers, keeping Americans in the dark about what is in their food. In fact, some of our allies are calling this the DARK, or the Denying Americans the Right to Know, Act.
Who’s behind this bill?
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), an industry group that represents corporations like Monsanto, Nestlé and Dow, has been working with allies in Congress to get this bill re-introduced in the current Congress, after failing to pass it last year.
Voluntary Labeling is a Proven Failure
While we usually support voluntary programs over mandatory programs, when it comes to GMOs, this is the wrong approach. There has already been voluntary labeling for the last 13 years — and not one company has voluntarily labeled its products as containing GMOs.
As long as Americans don’t realize that GMOs are in their food, they’ll keep buying these companies’ products. This isn’t how the free market is supposed to work — this is essentially fraud!
DARK Act Would Destroy Grassroots Efforts
Because FDA has not listened to the public call for GMO labeling (even ignoring the opinions of its own scientists), Americans have turned to the states for a solution. Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine have all passed labeling laws, and dozens more states are considering them.
But HR 1599 will cut these state labeling bills off at the knees and replace them with an undemocratic, hollow “voluntary” labeling scheme that does nothing to address consumer interests and only serves to allow corporations to deny us our right to know. To add insult to injury, the bill would set up a USDA-run program for non-GMO labeling – putting the burden on farmers and food producers who are using natural ingredients, rather than on the companies using genetically engineered ones!
Will you help us stop this industry attack on states’ and individuals’ rights?
Contact your U.S. Representative and urge him or her to oppose HR 1599.
You can find out who represents you by going to www.house.gov or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
Call and ask to speak to the staffer who handles food issues. Explain that you’re a constituent and that you want the right to know whether your food contains GMOs – and that means labeling the foods that have these patented ingredients, NOT requiring labeling of the natural foods without GMOs.
You can find more talking points in our sample letter below.
A phone call is more effective than an email. If you do send an email, please be sure to add a couple of personal sentences in the beginning so that it’s not just a form message!
Subject: Protect states’ right to require labeling
I urge you to reject HR 1599, Rep. Pompeo’s so-called “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act,” which would prohibit states from requiring the labeling of genetically engineered foods, or GMOs.
This bill, which is being promoted by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, would prevent states from requiring GMO labels at any time. In fact, this bill is so anti-consumer it is commonly referred to as the Deny Americans the Right to Know (or DARK) Act.
We have a right to know what is in our food so that we can make educated decisions about the food we eat. Contrary to the claims from the industry, there is no scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs, for human health or the environment. Over 300 scientists and physicians have signed a letter pointing out the many flaws in the studies that claim to show that GMOs are safe. The bottom line is that there are no long-term human health studies. And without labeling, tracing any impacts on human health in the population is effectively impossible.
The free market can only work when consumers have the information they need to make informed choices among different products. It is absurd to claim that voluntary labeling addresses the issue. In the 13 years that FDA has allowed companies to voluntarily label genetically engineered foods, not one single company has done so. Without mandatory labeling, consumers are effectively being defrauded.
The solution is to require labeling of foods that contain patented GMO ingredients – NOT to place the burden on the food producers who are using non-GMO ingredients.
We need change, but this is not it. I expect Congress to support my right to know about the food I purchase and feed my family, not undermine it.