Have you ever heard of the infamous DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act? It was given the DARK moniker by grassroots health and environmental organizations because of the negative effect imposes on food democracy, and because of the difficulty of accessing information it presents to shoppers.
The act, which is officially titled the “National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard,” was passed last summer and had the effect of overturning Vermont’s democratically passed GMO labeling law, which analysts say likely would have become a national standard.
The Vermont law gave consumers clear answers on food labels in the form of a message stating that a food product contains genetically engineered ingredients, similar to what is done in Europe. But the new DARK Act will make things far more difficult on shoppers, which is why it is important to add your input on what the new law should entail before the July 17 deadline.
Act Now: Tell the USDA You Want Real GMO Labeling By July 17
According to a new blog post from the Organic Consumers Association, (which includes a link to comment on the DARK Act, click here for more info) July 17 is the deadline to comment on how GMOs should be labeled in the United States.
The USDA is accepting input from the public, and big changes need to happen if we have any hope of saving the integrity of GMO labeling.
Calling it a “meaningless loophole-riddled federal law,” the blog post notes that the Trump Administration is beginning to write the regulations which will define GMO labeling in America.
The new law would force consumers to download a so-called SmartLabel app to their smart phones and scan QR barcodes sending them to each individual brand’s website where they will then search for information on GMO ingredients.
For shoppers already frustrated by long shopping trips attempting to figure out whether each product contains genetically engineered ingredients or not, the SmartLabel system brings virtually nothing to the table and is far too time consuming and inefficient to use consistently.
The act was passed despite consistent polls in the United States showing over 90 percent of people in favor of GMO labeling.
Companies against traditional text-based labeling in the United States included Monsanto, the powerful Grocery Manufacturers Association lobbying body, and other chemical companies, which spent more than 100 million dollars combined in 2015 alone in order to stop the more traditional text-based labeling system that had begun to emerge.
The OCA protested the DARK Act vote by throwing $2,000 worth of “Monsanto money” on the Senate floor during the proceedings.
Now, the organization is asking people to submit their comments by July 17 in order to help change the proposed “labeling” system and make it easier for everyone to read (many consumers still don’t even have smart phones or the requirements to connect to the Internet while shopping, let alone the time to research GMO ingredients at the store).
“That’s why we need GMO labels—not QR codes or other technology schemes that make it difficult for many, and impossible for some consumers to know whether they’re buying GMO foods, or foods that contain GMO ingredients,” the OCA blog states.
Already many companies such as Campbell’s and Hershey’s have begun labeling products containing genetically engineered ingredients voluntarily, illustrating the ease of doing so in stark contrast with Monsanto and others’ contention that it would be too costly for consumers.
For more information on the pending decision as well information on the health risks of GMOs, and to submit your comments to the USDA, you can click on this link.
Please share this article with your GMO conscious friends before the July 17 deadline so we can make our voices heard.