This week, the Senate Agriculture Committee voted to undermine states’ rights and deny you the right to know what’s in your food. By a vote of 14-6, the Committee approved S.2609, Senator Roberts’ version of the DARK Act to prohibit mandatory state labeling of genetically engineered (GMO) foods.
There’s talk of a “compromise,” which is likely to include a proposal for QR codes — patterned boxes on a package that you can scan with a smart phone, which then takes you to the company’s website which you have to search to find out whether or not the food has GMOs.
Tell your Senators that voluntary labels don’t work, and they must reject the DARK Act.
You can look up who your Senators are and find their contact information:
- Online: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
- Phone: 202-224-3121
Hi, my name is ___, and I am a constituent. I urge Senator _____ to vote against S.2609, which would block mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods. I urge the Senator to stand up for both states’ rights and individuals’ rights to know.
We have a right to know what is in our food so that we can make educated decisions about the food we eat. The free market can only work when consumers have the information they need to make informed choices among different products. Without mandatory on-package labeling, consumers are effectively being defrauded.
The use of a bar code or QR code is not a valid substitute for mandatory labels. Over a third of all Americans don’t even own smartphones and could not read such codes. And many of those who own smartphones are not familiar with QR code and wouldn’t even know that the information was available.Moreover, QR codes are extremely burdensome for consumers. With on-package labeling, you can quickly find the information you need on the package – simple, fast, and practical. Under the industry’s proposal, the shopper needs to pull out his or her smartphone (while still holding the package of food), open up an app, wait for the camera to focus on the bar code, wait for a webpage to load, and then search the website for the relevant information.There’s no real benefit to QR codes, since food manufacturers will still have to track which products have GMO ingredients. The real reason industry is pushing for QR codes instead of physical labels is to continue to keep the majority of consumers in the dark about what they’re eating.I urge Senator ___ to vote against S.2609 or any bill that would block state laws for mandatory physical labels on GMO foods.
Agency Meeting in Dallas, TX
WHEN: Wednesday, March 9, 2016, from 9:30 am to 1 pm.
WEB CAST: You can also view and participate in the meeting via a live web cast. Registration at:
- The agencies need to address the impacts of the proposed genetically engineered crop under actual usage. The agencies need to consider both human health, animal health, and economic impacts, including:
- the harm to the health of farmers, farm workers, and rural residents from the associated pesticides
- the damage to non-GMO crops with the resulting loss of yields and threat to farmers’ livelihoods from pesticide drift; and
- the reduction in choices for farmers from patented crops and consolidation of the seed market.
- Any organism that has been engineered needs to go through formal assessment & regulatory process. The process itself matters and should be the trigger that automatically requires assessment. Newer processes, such as gene editing, should be held to the same scrutiny.
- Liability for damages caused by GMO crops and their associated pesticides should lie with the patent holder. The patent holders should be required to pay fair compensation for any damages to organic and non-GMO farmers, in accordance with the normal principles of law. It is wrong to shift the costs to organic farmers by requiring them to waste large portions of their property in buffer zones; it is also wrong to shift the cost to the taxpayers through a federal insurance program.
- There must be disclosure to consumers through mandatory on-package labeling. It is impossible to implement any post-market adverse effect reporting without knowing who ate the products.
- The agencies need to rely on objective studies and independent verification of any data submitted by the company seeking approval.
- The current approach is to compare the proposed GMO crop with only two options: do nothing or conventional pesticide-intensive practices. The agencies need to include the real options, such as managing weeds and pests through diversified cropping systems and other options that have been shown scientifically to work.