The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote as early as next week on a bill that would block all local and state laws that regulate genetically engineered foods (GMOs), whether through labeling or anything else.
H.R. 1599 would:
- establish a federal policy of voluntary labeling for GMOs that is doomed to failure;
- create a federal government bureaucracy for non-GMO labeling, usurping the private system that’s already working well (the non-GMO Project); and
- prevent state and local governments from implementing any sort of oversight of GMO crops, even when the federal government has declined to regulate them!
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. It also means an end to all local or state efforts to protect non-GMO farmers from contamination, damaging family farmers and posing a serious threat to a valuable segment of the agriculture industry.
The vote on this terrible bill could occur as soon as July 23rd, so we need to act now! Will you help us stop this industry attack on states’ and individuals’ rights?
Contact your U.S. Representative and urge him or her to oppose H.R. 1599. You can find out who represents you by going to www.house.gov or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
Here’s a sample script for a phone call:
My name is ___, I am a constituent, and I am calling to urge Representative ____ to vote NO on HR 1599. It is very important to my family and me to know whether our food is genetically engineered. Based on the last 14 years of inaction, it’s clear that the large food manufacturers will not do so voluntarily. And H.R. 1599 not only pre-empts all state efforts to label GMOs, it pre-empts all state and local efforts to regulate GMOs in any way at all. This goes way too far! I urge my Representative to vote no on H.R. 1599.
You can find more talking points in our sample email 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!
After you call, you can follow up by sending the staffer our fact sheet
Subject: Oppose HR 1599 and protect states’ and individuals’ rights
As a constituent, I urge you to reject H.R. 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.
We have a right to know what is in our food so that we can make educated decisions about the food we eat. This bill does not meet the concerns of Americans about what’s in their food. What it 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 14 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.
The bill goes even further by forbidding state and local governments from any sort of oversight of GMO crops, even when the federal government has declined or failed to regulate them. Yet these local controls have been adopted in areas based on overwhelming public support, and in order to protect very valuable non-GMO agricultural industries. It is undemocratic and bad for our economy to overturn these local laws.
Attached is a fact sheet with more information on why you should oppose H.R. 1599.
Please stand up for states’ and consumers’ rights and vote NO on H.R. 1599.
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!
H.R. 1599 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.
At the local level, citizens have organized to protect non-GMO farmers from contamination by passing local bans on planting GMO crops. Many local government ordinances restricting GMO crops have been in place for over a decade, in states such as California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii. Just this past month, a court upheld a Jackson County, Oregon law establishing a GMO-free zone. This and numerous other state and county ordinances would be overturned by H.R. 1599.
Please call your U.S. Representative today and urge him or her to vote NO on H.R. 1599!
Special thanks to the Organic Consumers Association for their leadership in opposing H.R. 1599