The roll call can be viewed on the government website, revealing to the public which Senators voted in favor of the DARK Act and which ones represented the American will by voting against the bill. The stats also include the names of the 7 Senators who didn’t vote (1).
According to Natural News and others, the DARK Act (S.764) bill is “in direct violation of the Tenth Amendment” (2).
Cornell University Law School explains that the Tenth Amendment to the Bill of Rights ensures, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people” (3).
The DARK Act prevents states from mandating GMO labeling. Natural News reports that the majority of GMO foods will be exempt from labeling. State laws passed demand proper GMO labeling to accurately alert consumers that the foodstuff is either GMO or contains GMO ingredients (4).
Only Smartphones Will Show GMO Labels
Those foods that aren’t exempt will have labels with “smart” codes (QR codes) that can be scanned by smartphone owners. If you don’t have a smart phone and haven’t downloaded the QR code software that can scan the codes, you’ll be out of luck and in the dark about buying GMO foods.
According to Label GMOS, the statistics for those being able to use this feature reveal the DARK Act law is discriminatory (5).
The statistics of the survey taken of smartphone users include:
–> 21% of Americans have scanned QR codes on their smart phones
–> 27% of seniors own smartphones
–> 50% of low income Americans own smartphones.
–> 42% of African Americans had to let smartphone services lapse
–> 36% of Latinos had to let smartphone service lapse
Not included in these figures are the people who do not own a smartphone for their cell phone coverage.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed the draft of the bill and made several recommendations. According to Andrew Kimbrell, Center for Food Safety executive director, “The FDA critique makes it very clear that this is really a non-labeling bill disguised as a labeling bill.” The FDA warned in its review that the wording of the bill could create confusion among the food industry itself (6).
The FDA complained that the DARK Act would prevent the enforcement of laws for proper labeling. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, “The bill also instructs the FDA to exclude animals that feed on GMO crops, such as cows fed GMO corn, from being labeled as GMO products” (7).
In July 2015, EcoWatch reported that the bill would prevent the FDA from requiring GE (Genetically Engineered) food labeling. In addition, the bill would allow the continued use of “natural” on foods that were either GE or contain GE ingredients (8).
Congress Ignored Will of the People
When the DARK Act passed the House, many consumer watchdogs felt the Senate would stop the passing of the bill. They underestimated the will of the food industry in its fight to keep GMO foods hidden from consumers.
Kimbrell stated, “Pre-empting the democratically decided upon laws of five states based on this poorly written, discriminatory and ineffective legislation would be a travesty.”
In response to the House passing the bill in 2015, Environmental Working Group (EWG) senior vice president of government affairs Scott Faber stated that the House of Representatives had simply ignored what 9 out of 10 Americans wanted.
His words were as strong as the desires of those 90% of Americans when he said, “This House [House of Representatives] was bought and paid for by corporate interests, so it’s no surprise that it passed a bill to block states and the FDA from giving consumers basic information about their food.”
Those words can be repeated to describe the miscarriage of the American will in the July 2016 Senate vote. The DARK Act was a response by the GMO food industry to the individual states, such as Vermont, Connecticut and Maine that listened to their constituents and passed laws requiring food companies to disclose GMO on their labels. In 2013 – 2014, over 30 states began legislation to do the same.
The food industry responded with the complaint that such a change would impose unfair cost in the changing of their labels. This argument was shot down immediately since companies change labels all the time at a minimum cost.
The line was drawn in the sand and the mega machine of the GMO industry went to work to push the DARK Act through Congress. That bill was sent to the President in early July 2016. It sits on his desk awaiting his signature and he’s expected to sign it into law.
Petition to President to Veto DARK Act (S.764)
In the meantime, those who have fought to let the people’s voices be heard haven’t given up. The fight for the simple human right to know what is in the foods that Americans purchase every week for their families has one last chance to stop the DARK Act.
A petition was created and will be presented to the President calling for him to veto the DARK Act, but time is running out.
The National Organic Coalition along with other organizations and groups formed to fight the DARK Act sent out the call for all Americans concerned about the health of their families to sign the petition and send a clear response to the President. That message states that politicians have not acted in accordance to the will of the people, but the will of the mega conglomerate of the GMO/GE food industry.
Once the President signs the DARK Act bill, the American consumer will be robbed of GE labeling and in many cases foods will be exempt of GMO notification.
Label GMOS reminds that during Obama’s 2007 campaign for President, he promised, “We’ll let folks know whether their food has been genetically modified because Americans should know what they’re buying.”
The petition to veto the DARK Act can be found @ https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/thank-you/2287571
References & Image Credits:
(2) TSW: House Committee Bans GMO Labeling Is It All about the Money
(3) Cornell Law
(4) Natural News
(5) Label GMOs
(6) Center for Food Safety