DARK Act

The DARK Act

In 2014, Vermont became the first state to require mandatory GMO labeling.  Connecticut and Maine have also passed GMO labeling laws that will go into effect once neighboring states pass similar laws and other states are currently looking to pass GMO labeling legislation.

In response to these state efforts, Representatives Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) introduced federal legislation developed by food companies that we in the consumer rights community have dubbed the “Deny Americans the Right-to-Know” Act (DARK Act). This anti-GMO labeling bill passed the House of Representatives in 2015 and Senator Roberts introduced similar legislation in 2016 that was DEFEATED on March 16th. This is not the end of the fight and we need to continue pressing for mandatory GMO labeling on the package. Senate Republicans will continue to push their agenda of a voluntary standard and we need to keep the pressure on our elected officials that more than 90% of Americans support mandatory GMO labeling, not voluntary.

There is an alternative to the DARK Act. Senator Merkley (D-OR) has introduced a bill that allows the industry different options to comply with a mandatory, on package, solution that will give consumers the information they want. Just Label It supports this bill and encourages constituents to reach out to their Senators and ask them to support this legislation. To learn more about the bill click here.

S. 2621 Bill Language

The most recent Senate version of the “Deny Americans the Right to Know” (DARK) Act, that was defeated, would have:

  • 1) Preempted states from requiring the labeling of GMO foods.
  • 2) Continued the current, broken voluntary labeling system by permitting companies to use 1-800 numbers, URLs, QR codes and even social media to provide consumers with GMO information.
  • 3) Allowed USDA to determine what GMO information is provided through the voluntary labeling system.
  • 4) Permited the USDA to require the use of 1-800 numbers, URLs, QR codes or other off-pack disclosure five
    years after enactment.
  • 5) Made it harder for companies like Campbell’s Soup to voluntarily disclose the presence of GMOs.

Americans want the Right to Know:

Americans want an on package disclosure for GMO foods:

Dispelling GMO Labeling Myths:

  • GMO labeling will not increase food prices. Companies frequently change labels to highlight new innovations or to make new claims.
  • Voluntary labeling will not work. Companies have been allowed to make voluntary non-GMO disclosures since 2001, but consumers are more confused than ever.
  • There is no “patchwork quilt.” Current state GMO labeling laws are virtually identical, so there will be no “patchwork quilt” of different state laws. The responsible solution to concerns over a possible future patchwork would be the establishment of a uniform, national mandatory labeling standard.
  • GMO crops do not feed the world. Conventional and GMO corn and soybean yields have increased at the same rate. What’s more, farmers produce only 4 percent of rice, wheat, fruits, and vegetables, and most U.S. corn and soybeans are used for animal feed and ethanol, not food.
  • GMO crops have increased herbicide applications. Widespread adoption of GMO crops has increased annual applications of glyphosate – a probable human carcinogen – from 16 million pounds to more than 280 million pounds.
  • GMO crops have led to more toxic herbicides. As weeds have become resistant to glyphosate, farmers have turned to more toxic weed killers linked to cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and reproductive problems.

Take action now! Americans need to tell their members of Congress to stop the DARK Act from becoming law and demand support for mandatory GMO labeling.

DARK Act Materials:

DARK Act Fact Sheet

Senate DARK Act Bill Language

HR 1599 Bill Language

HR 1599 Summary

Letters to Congress on DARK Act legislation:

700 CEOs, Organizations, Farming and Fishing Groups, and Food Companies

American Association for Justice

Ben & Jerry’s

CEOs

UNFI

Consumers Federation of America DARK Act

Food & Water Watch

National Black Farmers Association

Consumers Union

Food Policy Action

Environmental Working Group

Social Justice Leaders

Green Action Groups

National Co+op Grocers

National Farm Family Coalition

New Jersey Business Owners

Massachusetts State Representatives

New York State Representatives




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