Shedding Light On The DARK Act

By: Mary Ellen Kustin, Senior Policy Analyst (EWG)

America needs a national labeling law for genetically engineered foods. That was the consensus of a majority of the members of Congress from both sides of the aisle during a well-attended subcommittee hearing Wednesday on the Food and Drug Administration’s role in regulating genetically modified food.

The bill that was the focus of the hearing purports to provide for a national labeling system, but the fact is, it wouldn’t actually require labeling of genetically engineered foods (commonly called “GMOs”).

In fact, what critics are calling the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act would undercut meaningful efforts to label GMOs. (Of course, that’s not the bill title used by its sponsor, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), or big food’s Grocery Manufacturers Association. They named the bill the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014.)

The reality is that the DARK Act would undo labeling laws that some states have already put on their books. But it goes further than that. The bill would actually make it harder for the FDA to require mandatory national labeling of GMOs.

Instead, Pompeo and a handful of his colleagues are in favor of the current voluntary system, which has resulted in massive consumer confusion.

As it stands now, the FDA allows companies to voluntarily label foods containing GMOs. The thing is, they don’t do it.

On the flip side of the coin, some companies that produce food without the use of GMOs go out of their way to have a third party like the Non-GMO Project certify their products just so they can label accordingly.

Unfortunately, those “Non-GMO” labels have done little to undo years of damage done by misleading marketing claims. (Full story here)…

Copyright © Environmental Working Group, Reproduced with permission

CC photo courtesy of: Flickr, user Starving Artist


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