earl blumenauer gmo

Over 20 Lawmakers Send Letter To Trump Ag Secretary Demanding Tougher GMO Labeling Standards

By On August 14, 2017

What is the truth about the so-called “GMO Labeling Bill (the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law aka the “DARK Act”) that was passed in 2016?

While the mainstream media, government officials and those who worked behind closed doors to pass it hailed it as “good for the consumer,” the truth is that the bill is about as toothless as they come, which is why it was dubbed the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act by clean food advocates and environmental organizations.

The bill not only subverted Vermont’s democratically passed plain text GMO labeling bill, it made the simple complicated, by proposing requirements for consumers to scan barcodes, visit websites and use their smartphones (assuming they all have them) in order to find out if a single product contains genetically engineered ingredients or not.

Now, with the official deadline starting to make its way into view, 22 Congresspeople are calling on the Trump Administration’s top agricultural appointment to implement tougher standards.

Less Than A Year Until GMO “Labeling” is Unveiled

Over 60 countries around the world already label GMOs in food packages with plain text, and in the U.S. some companies have begun doing it voluntarily.

But if things continue on their current path, the July 18, 2018 deadline for GMO labeling will likely bring the afromentioned complex and discriminatory system into reality.

There is still much to decide, but there’s one thing many people can agree on: the current regulations, or lack thereof, are far too weak. That issue was addressed by 22 House Democrats in a recent letter to Donald Trump’s Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, which pushed his department to finalize the rule as soon as possible to protect consumers from weak state laws.

“As your department moves forward with implementation, we believe it is critical that USDA create guidelines that include all GMO foods and ensure GMO information is available to all Americans,” the letter said.

Things have been mostly quiet on the national GMO labeling front in the months since the election, and according to this article from Food Navigator many issues still remain unresolved.

The article said that the definition of “bioengineered” is still being debated, as is the question of whether or not highly refined foods derived from GMO crops like high fructose corn syrup and soybean oil will be required.

It added that the wording of GMO ingredient disclosure is also up for debate terms like “produced with genetic engineering” or “may be produced with genetic engineering” may be utilized; the article also seemed to leave the door open for some text-based labeling  (some companies have begun using these terms voluntarily on their packaging).

In the letter, it was stressed that GMO labeling is much simpler than pro-GMO corporations like Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association are making it out to be, as noted in The Hill.

“What we are talking about is simple — Everyone has a fundamental right to know what’s in their food,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) said to the website. “USDA must step up and issue a final rule that will ensure all consumers can easily find information about what they are buying and eating.”

“Consumers have the right to know whether their food has been genetically modified,” Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), added according to the article.

Also being considered according to the Food Navigator article is whether or not any possible language used may seem “disapraging” toward genetic engineering, which is a major money maker for the United States where GMOs are widespread in stark contrast to the rest of the world (nearly 40 countries currently ban their cultivation or import).

For more information on the lawmakers’ letter for tougher GMO labeling standards, check out the full article from The Hill by clicking here. You can also submit your own comments for simple, plain text GMO labeling by clicking on this link.