On July 23, 2015, the House passed the bill in a vote of 275 -150. CBS News reported that in the state of Florida, representatives voted 18 for and only 8 against (2).
Nicknamed the DARK Act (Deny Americans the Right to Know what’s in their food) this bill strives to protect food manufacturers instead of the consumers. At least, that is the general consensus of those who want to know what’s in their food.
Rep. Mike Pompeo (Republican-Kansas) authored and sponsored the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 (H.R. 1599)” aka DARK Act. Even the title of the bill is misleading to anyone wishing for transparency in food labeling (3).
According to Natural News, “What Pompeo isn’t telling you, and in fact is deliberately covering up, is that Americans overwhelmingly support GMO labeling (we’re talking in the 90th percentile)…” (4)
Arguing against the bill, Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) asked the million dollar question, “What’s the problem with letting consumers know what they are buying?”
This has been one of the most asked questions in the consumer demands for GMO labeling. If GMOs are so beneficial and harmless, then why don’t food companies advertise their “state-of-the-art” foodstuffs proudly in every media outlet?
Reuters reported in July 2015 that the bill “also prevents state and local governments from regulating GMO crops, and would keep the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from creating a mandatory GMO labeling standard” (5).
The Selling Out of American Consumers to Big Food Companies
The mandatory labeling laws passed by Vermont, Maine and Connecticut will be superseded by this new federal law that will prevent these and other states from requiring GMO labeling of food products.
Pompeo called the GMO labeling laws passed by individual states as “unnecessarily costly given that GMOs have been deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”
Instead of providing safe and accurate labeling of food, according to The Hill, Pompeo’s bill will “create a federal standard for the voluntary labeling of foods with GMO ingredients” (6).
In addition to green-lighting GMOs not having to be mentioned on labels, this bill also allows food and beverage companies to continue labeling foods as “natural” and “all natural” in a deliberate deception to consumers.
The GMA (Grocery Manufacturers Association) used a Cornell University professor’s study to push the new law by citing that the study proved GMO labeling requirements would “increase grocery prices for a family of four by as much as $500 per year and cost food and beverage manufacturers millions of dollars to change food labels and supply chain systems.”
Harmful Effects of GMO Crops Denied
On his webpage Pompeo states, “GMOs are safe and have a number of important benefits for people and our planet. GMO crops use less water and fewer pesticides and reduce the price of crops by 15-30 percent. They also help us feed a global population of 7 billion that will grow to 9 billion by 2050, especially providing assistance to those who suffer from hunger and malnutrition. Contrary to claims by activists, there is no scientific evidence that suggests foods that contain GMOs are anything but safe” (7).
Monsanto’s GMO crops are designed to resist glysophate (Roundup) that it also sells to farmers for weed control. In fact, the use of GMO crops and the powerful nuking of Roundup has created “super weeds” that are more difficult to combat.
TSW reported in July 2015 that, “According to the UN’s ‘France-based cancer research arm of the World Health Organization’ International Agency for Research on Cancer IARC (IARC) glysophate (Roundup) is a carcinogenic agent. In fact, France has banned all “glyphosate-based products” from its garden centers.”
Natural News reports, “Scientists also concluded that glyphosate is “genotoxic,” meaning that it damages DNA and there’s actually no safe level of exposure” (4).
Follow the Money Trail
According to a July 2015 Wichita Eagle article, the majority of Rep Pompeo’s campaign contributions came from PACs (Political Action Committees). The Wichita Eagle reported that during the first six months of Pompeo’s 2016 campaign cycle, 90% of his campaign money came from PACs” (8).
Most importantly, the PACs are food industry related along with some oil and pharmaceutical. The article compares Pompeo’s PAC contributions to other US Reps who receive considerably less than Pompeo.
What makes this so news worthy is Pompeo’s past contributions have been mostly from individuals, not PACs and food companies.
Some of his 2016 campaign contributors listed include:
–> Campbell’s Soup
–> General Mills
–> Land ‘O Lakes butter
–> Kraft Foods
–> Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)
–> International Dairy Foods Association
–> Snack food Association PAC
–> North American Meat Institute and other FoodPACs.
Gov Track provides a list of the politicians that voted in favor of the DARK Act (9) as well as updates on bills (10). You can also track all of the House and Senate members and their actions (11).
Fighting Back, Boycotting and GMO Labeling
Scott Faber, Just Label It executive director (advocacy group for mandated labeling), told Reuters that the “real fight will be in the Senate. For advocacy groups, the battle is “far from over.”
There’s no need to feel demoralized and without options for fighting back. Nation of Change points out seven ways individuals can fight back (12).
The first suggestion is to find out how your House of Representative voted and then voice approval or disapproval to that individual and fight to see that person is either re-elected or voted out of office. The next thing is to write your state Congressman or woman and ask for a vote against the bill when it goes before the Senate.
Then, you can start making wise food purchases. Nation of Change points out that many of the big food companies have also purchased organic companies and these do the most damage with deception to consumers while the other companies the brand owns promotes and uses GMOs. Nation of Change calls for boycotting these companies and provides a list.
While it appears that big food companies have the upper hand so far in the fight for transparency with labeling, one thing to remember is that big business understands the bottom line. If their business suffers from a loss of revenue, they’ll be forced to take notice of the outcry against the new labeling efforts. Nation of Change encourages everyone concerned about food rights to fight back if you want to know what’s in your food.
References & Image Credits:
(2) CBS Local
(3) Gov Track
(4) Natural News
(6) The Hill
(7) House of Representatives
(9) Gov Track: Votes
(10) Congressional Votes on Bills
(11) Congressional Member Mike Pompeo
(12) Nation of Change
(13) Wikipedia: US House