The DARK Act: Monsanto’s Dream Come True, a Waking Nightmare for Clean Food and the Environment

The DARK Act - Monsanto's Dream Comes True is a Waking Nightmare for Clean Food and the Environment

28th July 2015

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

In a startling victory for Monsanto, the United States House of Representatives, against enormous public and industry outcry, passed H.R. 1599 — widely known as the “Deny Americans the Right to Know Act” or “The Dark Act.” This decision comes despite the opposition of over 300 farmer, environmental and consumer groups who opposed the bill in a letter to Congress, not to mention disapproval from the National Farmers Union, America’s second largest farming organization. Don’t also forget that 93% of respondents in a 2013 New York Times poll were also supportive of mandatory labeling for genetically engineered food.

And yet, House members decided to push through the “mother of all Monsanto protection acts,” which will invalidate the existing mandatory GMO labeling laws in any state — like the one in Vermont — and preempt any future state and federal GMO bans and labeling laws.

Observes Ronnie Cummins, International Director of the Organic Consumers Association, our so-called representatives have “voted against truth and transparency, against science, against the more than century-old right of states to legislate on matters relating to food safety and labeling. They voted against the 90-percent of Americans who are in favor of mandatory labeling of GMOs. They voted against the producers of non-GMO foods. They voted against you.”

‘Safe and Accurate’ Food Labeling Act of 2015

The summary of the bill itself offers several points which illustrate how this legislation has everything to do with protecting biotechnology and nothing to do with consumer welfare:

This bill amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require the developer of a bioengineered organism intended as food to submit a premarket biotechnology notification to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A “bioengineered organism” (commonly called a “genetically modified organism” or “GMO”) is a plant or part of a plant that has been modified through recombinant DNA techniques in a way that could not be obtained using conventional breeding techniques.

The premarket notification must include the developer’s determination that food from, containing, or consisting of the GMO (GMO food) is as safe as a comparable non-GMO food. For the GMO to be sold as food, the FDA must not object to the developer’s determination. If the FDA determines that there is a material difference between a GMO food and a comparable non-GMO food, the FDA can specify labeling that informs consumers of the difference.

A food label can only claim that a food is non-GMO if the ingredients are subject to certain supply chain process controls. No food label can suggest that non-GMO foods are safer than GMO foods. A food can be labeled as non-GMO even if it is produced with a GMO processing aid or enzyme or derived from animals fed GMO feed or given GMO drugs.

The DARK Act - Monsanto's Dream Comes True is a Waking Nightmare for Clean Food and the Environment 7The FDA must allow, but not require, GMO food to be labeled as GMO.

The FDA must regulate the use of “natural” on food labels.

This bill amends the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 to require the Agricultural Marketing Service to establish a program to certify non-GMO food.

This bill preempts state and local restrictions on GMOs or GMO food and labeling requirements for GMOs, GMO food, non-GMO food, or “natural” food. 

In a nutshell, the legislation requires the burden of proof as to the safety of genetically modified ingredients to reside with the developer of the product. Forget independent peer-reviewed studies. If Monsanto claims their genetically modified creations are safe, they must be. And don’t rely on the FDA to have your back since the agency has close industry ties to biotechnology.

Even if you believe you are purchasing a completely GMO-free product — thanks to this bill — you will never fully know the truth for the simple reason that the food or animal can be treated with genetically modified enzymes and drugs or fed GMO feed. The legislation will also allow products to be labeled “natural,” regardless of if they contain genetically modified material, further confusing the issue and misleading the public into believing the product is something that it most certainly is not.

Independent certification organizations like the Non-GMO Project are at risk as well with a government program looming that will certify non-genetically modified products. Remember what happened when the federal government ‘regulated’ organics in the U.S. with the USDA Certified Organic label? It diluted the stringent standards that were established by private certification groups and instead bowed to Big Agriculture interests, laying to waste small, independent family farmers who actually gave a damn about what they were producing.

The DARK Act - Monsanto's Dream Comes True is a Waking Nightmare for Clean Food and the Environment

One of the most breathtakingly corrupt aspects of the bill, however, is the complete annihilation of local and state GMO bans and labeling initiatives — those very laws which were voted on — and passed — by the people. In a single sweep, the federal government will invalidate legislation that took years of dedicated effort by volunteers who care about their health, communities and environment.

The bill is also unconstitutional. According to a statement made by the Campaign for Liberty:

“Whatever your views on GMOs, there is no Constitutional justification for the federal government to preempt state laws in this area. There certainly is no justification for Congress to preempt private sector efforts to meet consumer demands for non-GMO foods, while allowing those who support the use of GMOs to do so.”

This is not the time to give up the fight for food transparency and safety. In order to defeat this monstrosity of a bill, we need to come together and put pressure on our politicians. Ronnie Cummins believes that our efforts will need to be doubled, if not tripled, in order to crush this lopsided and deceptive legislation.

Learn more about how to take action here and here. Find your elected officials contact information here.

Organizations working towards putting an end to The Dark Act:

Article sources

Previous articles by Carolanne Wright:

About the author:

Carolanne Wright

I’m Carolanne — a writer, chef, traveler and enthusiastic advocate for sustainability, organics and joyful living. It’s good to have you here. If you would like to learn more, connect with me at or visit


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