The DARK Act (Denying Americans the Right to Know) has been boycotted by grassroots organizations, concerned consumer groups and scientific organizations. Ninety percent of consumers support labelling of genetically modified food. The bill would have been effective on July 1st and would have undermined individual State efforts to label genetically engineered products by establishing a voluntary labeling standard that would override state-level mandatory labeling regulations.
Democrats and Republicans voted no and the bill fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance.The Senate failed to invoke closure on the bill with a vote of 48-49.
. “I am optimistic that Congress can come together to find a real solution for consumers that is mandatory, national, and gives consumers the information they want about the food they are eating,” he said. “Any solution has to work for both consumers and for industry,” said Gary Hirshberg of Just Label.
A mandatory federal labelling standard bill was recently introduced by Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley and is still pending in the Senate.
“I am pleased that Congress stood up to the demands of Monsanto and other multi-national food industry corporations and rejected this outrageous bill,” Bernie Sanders said in a statement. “Today’s vote was a victory for the American people over corporate interests.”
A letter was presented by over 320 grassroots organizations, farmers, consumer groups and businesses who urged Congress not to adopt the DARK act. The act also called H.R. 1599, was implemented by Rep. Pompeo (R-KS) and prohibits states from implementing individual action to label genetically modified food products.The DARK act would preempt state law.
Since 2013, over 25 states have introduced legislation to label GMO foods, and these bills have passed in Connecticut, Maine and Vermont. “The federal government has failed consumers for years when it comes to GMO labeling, so people around the United States are getting labeling laws passed at the state level,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “It’s no surprise that Big Food and the biotechnology industry want to use Congress to block state level efforts. But it’s time for Congress to shine a light on GMOs and ensure that they’re properly labeled.”
“The biotech industry built its empire by deceiving American consumers,” said Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association. “Now that consumers realize the extent to which they’ve been deceived, and the extent to which their health has been compromised by chemical companies masquerading as food companies, they are demanding transparency. HR 1599 is a direct attack on consumers’ right to know the truth about what’s in their food. It’s also a blatant attack on states’ rights and on democracy itself.”
“The DARK Act is profoundly undemocratic as it robs citizens of their right to vote for labeling of genetically engineered food,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director at Center for Food Safety. “Citizens of 64 other countries have that right and Americans should as well. Congress needs to listen to the democratic will of the people, not the bottom line of Monsanto.”
“Pesticide corporations and their allies in Congress are trying to keep Americans in the dark,” said Kristin Schafer, policy director at Pesticide Action Network. “Americans have a right to know and a right to choose whether they want to support genetically engineered crops that promote increased and widespread herbicide use.”
The letter presented to the Congress urges the support of other legislative bills such as H.R. 913, introduced by Representative DeFazio (D-OR), (https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/913) and S. 511, introduced by Senator Boxer (D-CA), (https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/511). These bills propose a single labeling standard.
The letter is available at the following link: http://documents.foodandwaterwatch.org/doc/group_letter_dark_act_House_final.pdf