The U.S. Senate has scheduled a hearing next week on Monsanto’s and Big Food’s dream bill to crush the right of states to require labeling of foods containing GMO ingredients.
The House has already passed this dangerous bill, so we must stop it in the Senate! H.R. 1599, the so-called “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015,” has been dubbed the “Deny American the Right to Know” or DARK Act by grassroots organizations, because it will:
- Overturn state laws that require the labeling of genetically engineered or GMO foods, such as Vermont’s law that is supposed to go into effect next year;
- Enshrine FDA’s failed policy of voluntary labeling – under which not a single company has labeled GMO foods in the last 14 years;
- Allow food companies to continue to make misleading “natural” claims for foods that contain GMO ingredients;
- Create a federal government bureaucracy for non-GMO labeling, usurping the private system that’s already working well (the non-GMO Project); and
- Pre-empt state and local regulation of the planting of GMO crops (although the exact scope of the pre-emption is unclear).
H.R. 1599 will 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 our agriculture.
Will you help us stop this industry attack on states’ and individuals’ rights?
TAKE ACTION: Contact your Senators
Call or email both of your U.S. Senators to urge them to oppose H.R. 1599 or any bill that pre-empts state laws for labeling GMOs.
To find your Senators’ contact information:
- Online: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
- Phone: Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
SAMPLE CALL SCRIPT:
My name is ___, I am a constituent, and I am calling to urge Senator ____ to vote NO on H.R. 1599 or any other bill that blocks mandatory GMO labels by the states. 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. I also object to the bill’s pre-emption of local regulation of GMOs, and the creation of a new federal bureaucracy for non-GMO labeling. I urge my Senator to vote no on H.R. 1599 and any bill like it.
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.
You can also download our H.R. 1599 fact sheet at http://farmandranchfreedom.org/hr-1599-fact-sheet to send as an attachment to your email, or as a follow up to your call.
Subject: Oppose HR 1599 and protect states’ and individuals’ rights
As a constituent, I urge you to reject H.R. 1599, the 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.
Please stand up for states’ and consumers’ rights and vote NO on H.R. 1599 or any bill that would pre-empt state laws on GMO labeling.
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.
Check out the fact sheet at http://farmandranchfreedom.org/hr-1599-fact-sheet for more information about the problems with H.R. 1599
Call both of your U.S. Senators today and urge them to vote NO on H.R. 1599!