EWG’s Scott Faber Testifies Against Anti-GE Labeling Bill
Washington, D.C. – Scott Faber, vice president of government affairs at EWG, urged a congressional panel today to oppose legislation that would deny consumers information about what’s in their food and how it was grown.
Faber appeared before the Subcommittee on Health of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to discuss H.R. 4432, which its critics have dubbed the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act. He testified on behalf of Just Label It, a coalition of more than 700 businesses and organizations dedicated to mandatory GE labeling.
Faber told the panel that the DARK Act would keep consumers in the dark by preempting state laws requiring the labeling of genetically engineered food and ingredients.
In addition, Faber said the DARK Act would:
- keep the status quo by not requiring mandatory labeling of GE ingredients.
- limit the FDA’s authority to work with food companies and consumer advocates to craft a national GE labeling system.
- allow “misleading” claims that GE foods are “natural.”
- do nothing to reform FDA’s food ingredient review system.
Faber urged the committee instead to “support laws that protect Americans’ right to know.”
“A modest disclosure on the back of food packages will not only give consumers basic information about what’s in their food and how it was produced, but will also cure the consumer confusion caused by the widespread use of misleading claims like ‘natural’,” Faber said.
In his testimony, Faber also debunked several myths advanced by industry lobbyists, explaining that labeling would not increase food prices; that “the debate over GMO labels is not about technology but rather about transparency;” and that “evidence and experience” suggest that labeling will not deter consumers from buying genetically modified food.
Rep. Kate Webb, assistant majority leader of the Vermont House of Representatives, also testified against the DARK Act. Vermont was the first state to pass a no-strings-attached GE labeling law, which would be preempted under the DARK Act.