7th July 2016
Contributing writer for Wake Up World
“This is not a labeling bill; it is a non-labeling bill. We are appalled that our elected officials would support keeping Americans in the dark about what is in our food and even more appalled that they would do it on behalf of Big Chemical and food corporations.” ~ Center for Food Safety
In yet another attack on transparency and food safety, biotech giant Monsanto has won an unexpected bipartisan victory in Congress with a “test vote” on a bill dubbed Deny Americans the Right to Know Act, or DARK Act. On June 29th, ‘representatives’ in the U.S. Senate announced a deal had been reached regarding federal GMO labeling requirements. Introduced by Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), both Senators were paid handsomely by agribusiness to push the pro-GMO agenda in Congress — $2,808,111 and $1,565,978 respectively. Incredibly, it wasn’t just politicians that sold out the American public, a laundry list of organic brands owned by large corporations have embraced this latest version of the DARK Act as well, which will nullify state GMO labeling laws — including hard won legislation in Vermont.
Organic Traitors Join Forces with Monsanto Over DARK Act
In this day and age, it’s not surprising that political representatives are easily bought and paid for by the biotech industry. What does come as a surprise, however, is when the leaders of organic companies and organizations tell Congress behind closed doors that they will accept the GMO labeling compromise. A deal which will destroy state GMO laws and establish standards that only protect the interests of the biotech industry, instead of the public.
Says Ronnie Cummins, international director of the Organic Consumers Association:
“Perhaps even more outrageous, the legal definition of “bioengineered” foods under the new DARK Act means that 95 percent of the current GMO-tainted foods on the market, including foods made from Roundup-resistant and BT-spliced corn and soy, would never have to be identified.”
The companies and organizations in question? Whole Foods Market, Stonyfield Farm, Organic Valley, Just Label It, the Environmental Working Group and the Organic Trade Association (OTA) — the last of which hired the Podesta Group, the same public relations firm used by Hillary Clinton and the Biotechnology Industry Association, to persuade Senators to accept the shady GMO labeling bill.
Political Doublespeak and the GMO Agenda
“The Roberts-Stabenow GMO labeling bill would kill the Vermont law that labels GMO foods as “produced with genetic engineering.” Vermont’s law is working. GMOs are being labeled. Food prices are staying the same. The labels are being used nationwide. The Roberts-Stabenow bill wouldn’t require words on the package. It exempts nearly all GMOs from labeling. It would take at least 2 years to take effect. And, it’s essentially voluntary because there would be no enforcement for non-compliance.” ~ Alexis, Organic Consumers Association
As we well know, any bill where an industry comes under potential threat (in this case, biotech agriculture), lobbyists, industry insiders and the political machine will make the process unbearably complicated and convoluted to hide the true nature of the legislation. And it’s no different with the DARK Act.
Here’s what we stand to lose if the Senate passes the bill:
- Instead of clear labeling of GMOs for a food product, information would be hidden behind QR codes, 1-800 numbers and websites. In other words, consumers would need to scan the item with a smartphone to discover if the food contains GMOs, call the company or search through websites. Since there are apps available today that will identify if a product has GMOs — and calling a company or searching a website is already an option for concerned consumers — this entire ‘deal’ on federal GMO labeling is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.
- The labeling scheme is largely voluntary since there aren’t any penalties for violation, unlike Vermont’s law where violators are subject to fines up to $1,000/day per product.
- The bill would preempt state laws, such as those found in Vermont which mandate clear GMO labeling using 4 or 5 words: “produced with genetic engineering” or “partially produced with genetic engineering.” In one swoop, all state GMO labeling laws would be eliminated.
- The Secretary of Agriculture will determine the amount of “bioengineered substance” that needs to be present before the product is required to be labeled. Through pressure from biotech companies and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), entire classifications of processed foods could be exempt from the QR codes, even though the products contain several GMO ingredients in small quantities.
“Both the definition and the option for digital codes rather than on-package labeling represent major victories for farm interests, biotech developers, and food companies that have long resisted mandatory GMO labeling out of fear that it would stigmatize the technology.” [source]
It’s time to hold your Senators accountable. A role call of the representatives who voted “yes” for the test-run of the Roberts-Stabenow GMO labeling bill can be found here. If you care about the future of healthy food and the environment, it’s crucial to contact your representatives today and tell them you do not support the corrupt Roberts-Stabenow GMO labeling bill. Call, email, Tweet and post on your Senators Facebook page to express your outrage over this dirty biotech deal (Senate.gov/contact).
But don’t stop there. Put pressure on Stonyfield Farms, Just Label It, Whole Foods Market, Environmental Working Group and Organic Valley for supporting the Roberts-Stabenow DARK Act. Let these companies know you will vote with your fork and reject brands and companies who undermine true GMO labeling.
- www.agriculture.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Mandatory%20Labeling%20Bill.pdf [PDF]
About the author:
Carolanne Wright enthusiastically believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, Carolanne has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of organic living, gratefulness and joyful orientation for over 13 years.
Through her website Thrive-Living.net, she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people from around the world who share a similar vision. You can also follow Carolanne on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Further reading from Carolanne Wright:
- Don’t Ask, Just Plant — Taking Back Our Food Sovereignty with Guerrilla Gardening
- Seed Bombs: A Creative (and Fun) Mission to Save the Bees and Butterflies
- Autistic Boy with Higher IQ Than Einstein Discovers Gift After Removal from State-Run Therapy
- Dr Sebi: The Man Who Cures Aids, Cancer, Diabetes and More
- Big Pharma and Organized Crime — They are More Similar Than You May Think
- Emotional Energetic Healing: The Future of Medicine is Here
- The Greenhouse of the Future: Grow Your Own Food Year-Round With This Revolutionary System
- CDC Concealed Link Between Thimerosal and Autism for Over a Decade, Forced to Release Incriminating Documents