October 19, 2018

New Bill Would Repeal State GMO Labeling Laws

A bill introduced in Congress yesterday would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sole authority to require labeling of genetically modified foods, overturning state laws that require such labeling.  The bill, introduced by Reps. Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas) and G. K. Butterfield  (D- North Carolina,) is named the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014” (HR 4432) but has been quickly dubbed the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act by consumer groups.

GMO LabelingThe bill’s authors say that genetically modified crops are safe, require less water and pesticides and can better feed the growing global population. They also maintain that such a law would spare farmers and other food producers the expense of complying with a patchwork of state laws that could mislead consumers and raise food prices.

“This bill has resounding support from the North Carolina Farm Bureau and the agriculture community at-large,” said Rep. G. K. Butterfield in a statement. “It prevents a mishmash of labeling standards and allows farmers to continue to produce higher yields of healthy crops in smaller spaces with less water and fewer pesticides. If passed, this will be a big win for farmers nationwide.”

The Environmental Working Group and the Center For Food Safety, who nicknamed the bill the DARK act, are two groups that have long advocated for GMO labeling. Not only would the bill overturn existing state laws, they say, it would limit the FDA’s authority to compel companies to disclose GM ingredients and prevent states from banning the word “natural” on food labels of products that contain genetically modified ingredients.

Recent surveys have shown broad support for labeling foods that contain GM ingredients. “More than 90 percent of Americans support labeling of GE foods,” said Scott Faber, senior vice-president of government affairs for EWG.



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