Another Attempt to Keep Consumers in the DARK: Rep. Pompeo Reintroduces Bill to Preempt State GMO Labeling Laws

For Immediate Release: March 25, 2015

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., is expected to file legislation in Congress to prevent states from giving their citizens the right to know whether the food they buy was made with genetically modified ingredients, or GMOs.

The Deny Americans the Right-to-Know or DARK Act, as it is called by opponents – would preempt current state laws and block future state action to require GMO labeling. The bill would also make it more difficult for the Food and Drug Administration to ever impose a national mandatory labeling system – something roughly 90 percent of Americans support, according to public opinion polling.

Over the past two years, 30 states have considered more than 70 GMO labeling bills and ballot initiatives. Connecticut, Maine and Vermont led the way, becoming the first states to enact mandatory labeling.

“In the absence of federal action, many states are listening to their citizens and pushing forward with laws to require clear, transparent labeling of GMO foods,” said Katrina Staves, campaign manager for Just Label It. “By reintroducing the DARK Act, Rep. Pompeo is undercutting the rights of states to give their citizens more information about the food they buy and effectively freezing the conversation at the federal level.”

In addition to preempting state action, the DARK Act would make the current, failed voluntary labeling system the “national solution” to labeling. This voluntary system has called for food companies to voluntarily disclose the presence of GMOs in their products since 2001, but to date none has done so.

“Around the world, 64 countries – including the likes of Russia and China – have figured out that labeling foods created in a lab instead of a field is a smart decision,” said Gary Hirshberg, board chairman of Just Label It. “Americans simply want to be afforded the same right – not this thinly veiled proposal that will ultimately provide no new information about how their food was produced. Rep. Pompeo’s so-called The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 is a smokescreen, because no company has ever voluntarily labeled the presence of genetically engineered ingredients, and none ever will.”

Nearly 1.5 million Americans have signed a petition to the FDA supporting mandatory GMO labeling, and more than 200 companies and other organizations signed a letter in early 2014 calling on President Obama to make good on his 2007 campaign pledge to require it.

Glyphosate, the main ingredient found in Monsanto’s Roundup, a popular herbicide for GMO crops, was on Friday found to be a probable human carcinogen. This designation by the World Health Organization only amplifies the need to label GMO foods that contain ingredients grown with the use of toxic herbicides, like glyphosate.

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