Representative Pompeo just introduced a bill, HR 1599, that would prohibit state efforts to require labeling of genetically engineered foods (GMOs).
This is Monsanto’s dream bill — it would allow big corporations that make and use GMOs to continue to hide them from consumers, keeping Americans in the dark about what is in their food. In fact, some of our allies are calling this the DARK, or the Denying Americans the Right to Know, Act.
Who’s behind this bill?
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), an industry group that represents corporations like Monsanto, Nestlé and Dow, has been working with allies in Congress to get this bill re-introduced in the current Congress, after failing to pass it last year.
Voluntary Labeling is a Proven Failure
While we usually support voluntary programs over mandatory programs, when it comes to GMOs, this is the wrong approach. There has already been voluntary labeling for the last 13 years — and not one company has voluntarily labeled its products as containing GMOs.
As long as Americans don’t realize that GMOs are in their food, they’ll keep buying these companies’ products. This isn’t how the free market is supposed to work — this is essentially fraud!
DARK Act Would Destroy Grassroots Efforts
Because FDA has not listened to the public call for GMO labeling (even ignoring the opinions of its own scientists), Americans have turned to the states for a solution. Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine have all passed labeling laws, and dozens more states are considering them.
But HR 1599 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.
Will you help us stop this industry attack on states’ and individuals’ rights?
We know that the GMA, and the corporations it represents, are busy lobbying members of Congress, so we need to make sure they’re hearing from their actual constituents to counter the anti-labeling rhetoric.
Make sure your legislators hear from you: protect our right to know what is in our food!
Contact your U.S. Representative and urge him or her to oppose HR 1599.
You can find out who represents you by going to www.house.gov or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
Call and ask to speak to the staffer who handles food issues. Explain that you’re a constituent and that you want the right to know whether your food contains GMOs — and that the Big Food companies have already proven that they will not do so voluntarily. You can find more talking points in our sample letter below.
A phone call is more effective than an email. If you do send an email, please be sure to add a couple of personal sentences in the beginning so that it’s not just a form message!
Subject: Protect states’ right to require labeling
I urge you to reject HR 1599, Rep. Pompeo’s so-called “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act,” which would prohibit states from requiring the labeling of genetically engineered foods, or GMOs.
This bill, which is being promoted by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, would prevent states from requiring GMO labels at any time. In fact, this bill is so anti-consumer it is commonly referred to as the Deny Americans the Right to Know (or DARK) Act.
We have a right to know what is in our food so that we can make educated decisions about the food we eat.
The bill does nothing useful — there is no need for Congress to adopt voluntary labeling, since companies have had that option ever since GMOs were introduced in our food supply. What the bill really does is deny states the right to pass meaningful mandatory GMO food labeling bills.
The free market can only work when consumers have the information they need to make informed choices among different products. It is absurd to claim that voluntary labeling addresses the issue. In the 13 years that FDA has allowed companies to voluntarily label genetically engineered foods, not one single company has done so. Without mandatory labeling, consumers are effectively being defrauded.
We need change, but this is not it. I expect Congress to support my right to know about the food I purchase and feed my family, not undermine it.