Washington, D.C. – A bill expected to be introduced today by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) would block states from requiring labeling on genetically modified food, and also hamper any U.S. Food and Drug Administration efforts to mandate labeling nationwide, the Environmental Working Group said in a statement.
“More than 90 percent of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, believe foods made with GMOs should be labeled,” said Scott Faber, senior vice president of government affairs for EWG. “Consumers in 64 countries already have the right to know if their food contains GMOs. Supporters of this bill are trying to keep this basic information from their constituents.”
The bill – dubbed by its critics the Deny Americans the Right-to-Know or DARK Act -- would overturn labeling laws enacted in Vermont, Connecticut and Maine and prevent other states from adopting such laws. Since 2013, more than 70 labeling proposals have been introduced in 30 states.
Contrary to promises from the biotechnology industry, the widespread adoption of GMO crops has lead to a surge in herbicide usage. As weeds have grown resistant, farmers have been forced to turn to more intensely toxic chemicals that have been linked to serious health problems. Last week, the World Health Organization classified glyphosate, the active ingredient in the infamous weed killer Roundup, as a probable human carcinogen.
Besides interfering with states’ rights, the DARK Act would make the current, broken voluntary GMO labeling system the law of the land.
“Not a single company has ever voluntarily disclosed the presence of GMOs in its food,” Faber said. “Voluntary labeling does nothing to solve the confusion consumers face at the supermarket, nor does it provide them with the information overwhelming numbers of consumers clearly want.”
Pro-labeling advocates are supporting legislation introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) that would mandate national GMO labeling and help clear up confusion for consumers over misleading label claims, such as “natural.”