Center for Food Safety is expressing “deep disappointment” that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed H.R. 1599, a bill that will not allow state and local governments to label and regulate genetically engineered foods. The bill codifies a voluntary labeling system approach, blocks the FDA from ever implementing mandatory GE food label, and would let food companies make misleading claims about how “natural” GE foods are.
The bill is officially named The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015. But opponents have dubbed it Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act.
Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety said in a statement, “passage of this bill is an attempt by Monsanto and its agribusiness cronies to crush the democratic decision-making of tens of millions of Americans. Corporate influence has won and the voice of the people has been ignored.”
In addition, some language in the bill may stop local and state governments from having any control over GMO crops. Some communities have tried to establish “GMO-free zones”, but this legislation would overturn all of those laws and prevent new ones from being implemented.
CFS continues, “as written, H.R. 1599 has sweeping preemptive effect, which could negate well over 130 existing statutes, regulations, and ordinances in 43 states at the state and municipal level. This radical federal overreach could take away local governments’ ability to enact measures to address the specific locality’s cultural, agricultural, and ecological concerns, issues that have been been recognized as falling under local governments’ traditional police powers.”
Sixty four countries around the world require GE food labels and have not reported higher food costs as a result, which is an argument brought up by food corporations. And more than 30 states introduced legislation requiring labels on these foods in 2013 and 2014. Many lost after supporters were outspent by huge corporations.