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DARK Act Strikes Back: 7 Things Everyone Should Know

February 24th, 2016
Center for Food Safety

Over 90% of the American public wants the labeling of genetically engineered foods. But some representatives in Congress have decided to protect the bottom line of corporations such as Monsanto and ignore the will of the people. In July, the House of Representatives voted for a controversial bill that’s been dubbed the “Deny Americans the Right to Know Act” or “DARK Act,” which is designed to forever prohibit any state or federal labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. Now, Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) is trying to push through a Senate version of the DARK Act in time to block Vermont’s GE food labeling law, set to go into effect in July. It is critical that we stop this anti-democratic effort in Congress once and for all. We have a right to know what we are eating and feeding our families.

Here are 7 key reasons we oppose the DARK Act:

  1. The DARK Act is profoundly undemocratic. It would rescind state GE food labeling laws already passed in Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine, as well as a GE seafood labeling law in Alaska. This represents an unprecedented usurpation of the democratic will of tens of millions of Americans.

  2. The DARK Act would also prevent the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from establishing a national mandatory labeling standard for GE foods. That means Americans would be left with no state labeling or federal labeling. It’s a lose-lose for consumers.

  3. The DARK Act makes the U.S. the outlier on the world stage. 64 countries around the world already require GE foods to be labeled including Russia, China, Japan, Brazil and the members of the European Union. The U.S. population wants the same right to know as the citizens of all these countries.

  4. The DARK Act misleads consumers. The FDA requires the labeling of over 3,000 ingredients, additives and processes including juice when it’s from concentrate and foods that have been irradiated. GE food labeling should be no different. 

  5. The DARK Act hides information that companies can easily share on their packaging. Case in point, Campbell’s Soup, which recently announced it would appropriately label those of its products that contained GE ingredients. It is doing so without any added costs to consumers, despite outrageous claims from big agribusiness that GE food labeling would drastically raise food prices.

  6. The DARK Act could lead to discriminatory labeling practices. Some DARK Act supporters have proposed that companies disclose GE ingredient information through QR codes and company websites, rather than on the package. This would alienate those purchasers who don’t have smartphones--a third of all U.S. adults--and disproportionately affect lower income and elderly shoppers.

  7. The DARK Act was written by agribusiness and the chemical industry in order to protect their profits as a leaked memo from the Grocery Manufacturers Association reveals. The corporations want to keep us eating in the dark and not be able to choose to avoid GE foods that offer us only risks and no benefits.

As Senator Roberts pushes a Senate version of the DARK Act, he is still waiting for a Democrat to join him. So far no Senate Democrat has agreed to add his or her name to this anti-consumer bill, but Senator Debbie Stabenow and others are feeling the pressure. Next week, the Senate Agriculture Committee will be considering amendments and voting on the bill. Click below to tell your Senator to oppose any version of the DARK Act that strips Vermont and other states of their democratic right.

Take Action: Tell your Senators to OPPOSE the DARK Act and SUPPORT mandatory GE food labeling!

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