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Legislation dubbed the Deny Americans the Right to Know, or DARK Act (H.R. 1599), passed the House of Representatives yesterday by a vote of 275-150. The bill preempts state and local authority to label and regulate genetically engineered (GE) foods. A Senate version of this bill has not yet been introduced.

The bill, backed largely by House Republicans, codifies a voluntary labeling system approach, blocks the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from ever implementing mandatory GE food labeling and allows food companies to continue to make misleading “natural” claims for foods that contain GE ingredients.

A number of farm state Democrats joined House Republicans in passing the bill. Twelve Republicans voted against the bill citing infringement of states’ rights and local control.

“It’s outrageous that some House lawmakers voted to ignore the wishes of nine out of 10 Americans,” said Scott Faber, senior vice president of government affairs for Environmental Working Group (EWG). “Today’s vote to deny Americans the right to know what’s in their food and how it’s grown was a foregone conclusion. This House 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.”

More than 300 organizations, companies and food industry and social justice leaders oppose the DARK Act in the face of massive spending and lobbying by big chemical and food companies, according to EWG. Polls show a large majority of people in key states and across the country support mandatory GMO labeling.

“We’re confident the Senate will defeat the DARK Act,” added Faber. “We continue to hope that thoughtful food companies that listen to their customers will work with consumer groups to craft a non-judgmental GMO disclosure to put on the back of food packaging. Americans should have the same right as citizens of 64 other countries to know what’s in their food and how it’s grown.”

Image credit: Just Label It
Americans should have the same right as citizens of 64 other countries to know what’s in their food and how it’s grown. Image credit: Just Label It

To call on Americans to ask popular food brands to stop funding anti-labeling efforts and stand with the overwhelming number of Americans who support mandatory GMO labeling, Just Label It launched the “Conceal of Reveal” campaign.

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