Big Food is trying to kill your right to know if the food you’re eating is genetically engineered.
With their anti-labeling allies, like Monsanto and Dow, the Grocery Manufacturers Association has teamed up with Koch brothers-backed Congressman Mike Pompeo of Kansas to introduce a federal bill that would deny your right to know.
The bill, which we’re calling the “Deny Americans the Right-to-Know Act (DARK Act),” would:
- Prevent states from adopting their own GE labeling laws.
- Block any attempt by states to make it illegal for food companies to put a ‘natural’ label on products that contain GE ingredients.
- Prevent the Food and Drug Administration from requiring companies to label GE ingredients and instead continue a failed ‘voluntary’ labeling policy.
The bill, crafted by the Grocery Manufacturers Association-led Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food, has just been introduced by Rep. Pompeo, and has reportedly picked up two co-sponsors: Reps. Butterfield (D-NC 1st district) and Blackburn (R-TN 7th district). All three lawmakers serve on the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over GE food labeling.
It’s no surprise that industry chose the Kansas Republican as their cheerleader. Pompeo was the single largest recipient of campaign funds from Koch Industries in 2010. It’s clear that corporate money = legislative favors with Congressman Pompeo.
And now the Koch brothers are teaming up with Monsanto. Monsanto was the single largest contributor against the recent Washington State ballot initiative to label GE foods. Between Washington State and California, Monsanto, along with GMA and other agribusiness companies, have contributed over $67 million to keep consumers in the dark.
So what’s wrong with ‘voluntary’ GE food labeling? In a word: everything. It is grossly misleading for industry — let alone members of Congress — to continue trumpeting the idea that voluntary labeling will solve the overwhelming consumer demand for labeling in the marketplace. In the 13 years that the FDA has allowed companies to voluntarily label genetically engineered foods, not one single company has done so.
Without mandatory labeling of GE foods, consumers are being left in the dark about the foods we are purchasing and feeding our families. In 2013, over 50 GE labeling bills were introduced in 26 states, including Hawaii, Washington, Indiana, Missouri, and Vermont.
This industry-backed bill will cut these state labeling bills off at the knees and replace them with an undemocratic, hollow ‘voluntary’ labeling scheme that does nothing to address consumer interests and only serves to allow corporations to deny us our right to know.
Safe eating begins with informed eating!