70 bills have been introduced in over 30 states to require some sort of labeling of genetically engineered (GE) or genetically modified organisms (GMO).1)http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/issues/976/ge-food-labeling/state-labeling-initiatives# Although very few of these bills or initiatives have passed into actual law, and many have been challenged in court, a new congressional bill would take away the state’s rights once and for all to require labeling of GMO foods.
H.R.1599 2)https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1599/text, ironically labeled the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 has been renamed the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act by food safety activists. 3)http://www.globalresearch.ca/gmo-food-safety-and-the-labeling-of-natural-foods-us-congress-anti-consumer-dark-act-legislation-denying-americans-the-right-to-know/54501194)https://www.organicconsumers.org/newsletter/organic-bytes-472/dark-shadows
At first glance, this H.R. 1599 appears to be an effort to regulate labeling of terms, like GMO-free and “natural”, but then there is this putting the power of GMO labeling into the hands of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) secretary:
“(e) Labeling.—If the Secretary determines that there is a material difference between a food produced from, containing, or consisting of a bioengineered organism and its comparable marketed food and that disclosure of such difference is necessary to protect health and safety or to prevent the label or labeling of such food from being false or misleading, the Secretary may, in a response under subsection (d)(2)(A), specify labeling that would adequately inform consumers of such material difference. The use of bioengineering does not, by itself, constitute a material difference. 5)https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1599/text
In addition, if a company choses to label foods, it:
(C) may not suggest either expressly or by implication that foods developed without the use of bioengineering are safer than foods produced from, containing, or consisting of a bioengineered organism;6)https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1599/text
But here is the really scary part that would wipe out any effort of states to require GMO-labeling. Federal regulations always trump state’s rights:
“(A) shall not require the labeling to declare the use of bioengineering solely because the food was developed with the use of bioengineering; 7)https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1599/text
If H.R. 1599 passes, it would be the end of GMO-labeling in the US. The law would not ban “voluntary” labeling, but it would prevent any requirements passed by state laws.
“(c) Prohibitions Against Mandatory Labeling Of Food Developed Using Bioengineering.—Except for claims under subsection (a)(1) or (b)(1) of section 425, no State or political subdivision of a State may directly or indirectly establish under any authority or continue in effect as to any food in interstate commerce any requirement for the labeling of a food by virtue of its having been developed using bioengineering, including any requirements for claims that a food is or contains an ingredient that was developed using bioengineering.”8)https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1599/text
This bill would do exactly the opposite of its title. It would not allow for Safe and Accurate Food Labeling. For example, GMO foods could claim to be “natural” under this act.
Global Research reports:
The FDA would be prevented from establishing a national mandatory standard. Current agency policy lets companies voluntarily label GMO foods. No major company does so.
DARK Act legislation lets the industry-controlled FDA approve foods for sale under a system requiring companies merely to notify the agency about products “substantially equivalent” to non-GMOs.
Labeling genetically modified foods and ingredients “natural” is willful deception. DARK legislation lets federal regulators define the term to include harmful to health GMOs.
It would block states from prohibiting “natural” labeling for GMO foods. 9)http://www.globalresearch.ca/gmo-food-safety-and-the-labeling-of-natural-foods-us-congress-anti-consumer-dark-act-legislation-denying-americans-the-right-to-know/5450119
Sponsored by Kansas Republican Mike Pompeo, H.R. 1599 is backed by the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA), a lobbyist group representing companies from PepsiCo to Hormel.10)http://www.globalresearch.ca/gmo-food-safety-and-the-labeling-of-natural-foods-us-congress-anti-consumer-dark-act-legislation-denying-americans-the-right-to-know/5450119 Two years ago, the GMA was accused of money-laundering by the state of Washington in its attempts to fight GMO labeling legislation in that state revealing the companies it represents.11)http://ecochildsplay.com/2013/10/19/whos-the-grocery-manufacturers-association-no-on-i-522-gmo-labeling-companies-revealed/
H.R. 1599 is also backed by Monsanto. The company is a member of GMA. H.R. 1599 has also been dubbed “Monsanto’s Dream Bill”. 12)https://secure3.convio.net/fww/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1937
Alternative, an accurate food labeling bill has been introduced by Oregon Democrat Peter Fazio. HR 913: Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act would “require that genetically engineered food and foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients be labeled accordingly.”13)http://www.globalresearch.ca/gmo-food-safety-and-the-labeling-of-natural-foods-us-congress-anti-consumer-dark-act-legislation-denying-americans-the-right-to-know/5450119
Consistently, polls of US citizens find that 93-96% support GMO labeling.14)http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/issues/976/ge-food-labeling/state-labeling-initiatives# H.R. 1599 contradicts the public opinion. If it passes into law, it will be another example where the US government represents big business in America rather than the people.
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