We reported last week that a bill, which has been nicknamed the Deny Americans the Right to Know Act (DARK Act), was marked up by the House Agriculture Committee. This week the U.S. House of Representatives in a 275 to 150 vote passed the bill, which would overturn state GMO labeling laws.
The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan) back in March, would create a federal standard for a voluntary GMO labeling system as well as preempt state and local labeling laws, making them unenforceable. It would also block any FDA GMO labeling effort at the federal level.
“Precisely zero pieces of credible evidence have been presented that foods produced with biotechnology pose any risk to our health and safety,” Pompeo said to The Hill. “We should not raise prices on consumers based on the wishes of a handful of activists.”
But labeling advocates whole heartedly disagree, stating that consumers have the right to know and furthermore, the right to label GMOs shouldn’t be blocked at the state level.
“If this bill becomes law it would forever take away our right to choose what we feed our children, farmer’s rights to grow their crop of choice, and our right to protect ourselves and our communities from dangerous chemicals,” said Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety in a statement. “If this bill passes in the Senate, imagine the hundreds of millions of pounds of additional pesticides, including Roundup and 2,4-D—an element of “Agent Orange”—in your food, water and air.”
The bill would overturn GMO labeling laws in Maine, Connecticut, and Vermont as well as 135 state and local GMO labeling initiatives.
“American families deserve to know what they are eating and feeding to their children,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), reported in The Hill. “The FDA already requires clear labeling of over 3,000 ingredients, additives and food processes. GMOs should be no different.”
The House rejected two amendments introduced to enhance the bill’s GMO labeling requirements. The first would have banned use of the term “natural” on foods that contain GMO ingredients and the second amendment would force companies that label products as containing GMOs in products exported to countries with labeling requirements, to have the same labels in the U.S.
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