July 17, 2016
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is the final stop for a controversial bill recently passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, that would scrap state laws like those of Vermont that mandate package labeling for foods that contain genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). And more than 250,000 advocates for truth-in-labeling are now petitioning Barack Obama to veto the legislation immediately, and honor the will of the people rather than corporations in this important matter.
S.764, also known as the “DARK” (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act, is one of the latest efforts by the chemical food industry to keep Americans literally in the dark about what they’re purchasing and feeding to their families every time they go to the grocery store. It was also offered up as a federal solution to the problem of patchwork GMO labeling laws already enacted at the state level, but what it actually threatens to do is un-label GMOs, and make it more difficult for the average consumer to identify them.
On Friday, July 15, at 1 p.m., signatures collected at WhiteHouse.gov, ThePetitionSite.org, MoveOn.org and many other websites were hand-delivered to the White House demanding redress. Helping to spearhead the effort were the advocacy groups Organic Consumers Association, Center for Food Safety, Citizens for GMO Labeling, Consumers Union, Cornucopia Institute, Food Babe, Food Democracy Now, Food & Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, GMO Free USA, GMO Inside, Label GMOs, March Against Monsanto, Moms Across America, Occupy Monsanto, National Organic Coalition, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association and Vermont Right to Know GMOs.
This coalition of 286 advocacy groups wrote a letter to Obama asking him to veto S.764 on the grounds that it won’t advance the cause of GMO labeling. S.764 is also overtly unconstitutional, as it overrides existing state laws that mandate GMO labeling on food packaging. Another major point of contention are the GMO exemptions in S.764, which account for as many as 99 percent of all GMOs currently used in food.
“The FDA argues that the bill may not lead to a single label, because of the inadequate definition adopted by the Senate,” the letter explains. “Even if the rules and regulations can be developed, S. 764 allows companies to conceal genetically engineered ingredient information behind QR Codes, websites or 800 numbers which would require consumers to have internet access and a smartphone to determine what’s in their food. This is confusing and discriminatory.”
Will Obama finally step up to the plate and support Americans’ right to know?
For a president who’s constantly nagging the country over issues of equality, it only seems reasonable that Obama would want to nullify S.764 and urge Congress to come up with a real GMO labeling bill that, I don’t know, involves actually labeling GMOs on food product packaging. S.764 is a Trojan Horse bill devised by the chemical lobby to further conceal GMOs in the American food supply, and it’s particularly offensive to poor people and minorities who lack the technological infrastructure necessary to identify GMOs under the mandates of S.764.
Remember, Obama promised on the campaign trail that his administration would “let folks know if their food has been genetically modified because Americans should know what they are buying.” All it would take for this to happen is a simple piece of legislation outlining what constitutes a bio-engineered ingredient, and how that ingredient is to be labeled. As is already the case in most other developed countries throughout the world, a simple package label stating “produced with genetic engineering” would suffice.
To learn more about how to grow your own GMO-free food at home, be sure to check out the amazing Vertical Garden Tower.