Originally published March 26 2015
Sell-out politicians reintroduce bill to keep Americans in the dark about GMOs in their food
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Two U.S. congressmen have introduced a measure that would essentially shut down all state efforts to require foods to carry labels outlining and detailing all genetically modified ingredients.
The bill, from Reps. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., and G. K. Butterfield, D-N.C., is being sold in Congress as a legal mechanism that provides "important reforms to America's food supply," according to a press release from Pompeo's office.[PDF] The release went on to note the bipartisan nature of the measure, citing support from 17 additional co-sponsors (nine Republicans and eight Democrats), the majority of whom sit on either the House Agriculture or Energy and Commerce committees.
The press release further noted:
The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 will ensure that America's farmers will continue to be able to innovate and improve the quality and quantity of their crops and provide nutritious, affordable food on families' tables both here and across the world.
Without the reforms in this legislation, a patchwork of state GMO labeling laws could mislead consumers and increase food prices for families. This bill preserves and affirms the FDA's role in food safety, while ensuring that all Americans' desire to know what's in their food is respected. To that end, this legislation includes a new provision to allow those who wish to label their products as GMO-free to do so by through a USDA-accredited certification process.
No "right to know"
And therein lies the rub; as noted by GMWatch -- which calls the legislation the "DARK Bill" -- banning state labeling of GMO foods will essentially mean banning any GMO labeling of foods, because the corporate interests against the notion of GMO labeling will get their way on the federal level. (DARK = Denying Americans the Right to Know)
"We took the positive feedback we received after our hearing in December and have been meeting with key stakeholders to ensure this is the right policy for both producers and consumers," Pompeo claimed. "Our goal for this legislation remains to provide clarity and transparency in food labeling, support innovation, and keep food affordable."
"The potential for a 50 state patchwork of varying labeling standards would increase costs for producers and translate into higher prices for consumers to the tune of more than $500 per year for the average family," added Butterfield. "This bill will provide clear rules for producers and certainty for consumers at the grocery store checkout lane."
"When it comes to food labeling, state by state standards do not work. This bill seeks to end the guessing game and provide folks the peace of mind that labels are accurate," said Chairman Fred Upton, of the Energy and Commerce Committee. "Safe and accurate labeling is something that we should all be able to rally around with broad bipartisan support."
The best government money can buy
The press release also cryptically noted the influence of corporate GMO interests:
Farmers have relied on technological advances in order to feed the world, and this bill would ensure our continued success in providing safe, affordable, and nutritious food. [emphases added]
As to Pompeo, the campaign support he has received, according to Open Secrets, a political donation watchdog site, is mixed. In 2014, he received at least some support from Food Policy Action, an organization that opposes the DARK Bill.
However, Open Secrets noted, Pompeo received much more financial support from the American Chemistry Council, one of several organizations that spent lavishly in recent months to force GMO crops on Hawaii.
Of these, the Hawai'i Crop Improvement Association (whose members include Dow AgroScience, Monsanto, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Syngenta, and BASF) had the highest expenditures at $10,800; the powerful national trade association the American Chemistry Council (whose members include BASF, Bayer, Dow, and DuPont) and Syngenta each spent $10,000; and Monsanto spent $8,982.
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