Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter
Washington, D.C.—“Today, President Obama signed into law a bill that will prevent states from adding clear, easy to read GMO labels to food packages. Known as the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act, the bill was supported by Senators Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), the large biotech company Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association, a trade group for Big Food.
“This development is a disappointment for voters in Vermont, activists across the country who fought for our right to know what’s in our food and the vast majority of Americans who support GMO labeling.
“Despite the hype coming from proponents of the legislation, this is not a GMO labeling bill. Instead, it gives food companies the option to include QR codes, bar codes or 1-800 numbers on food packages that shoppers must scan with a smartphone in order to access information about possible GMO ingredients. This is not GMO labeling—it’s cumbersome and elitist and above all—a giant hassle.
“Major food companies like Mars, General Mills, Kellog’s, Con Agra and Campbell Soup were already starting to include GMO labels on products nationwide to comply with Vermont’s GMO labeling bill, which went into effect on July 1. This bill will nullify Vermont’s GMO labeling law and preempt other states from passing their own labeling laws.
“The legislation signed into law does not mandate recalls, penalties or fines for noncompliance, and many loopholes in the bill will likely leave plenty of GMO ingredients exempt from any labeling requirements. Ultimately, the DARK Act illustrates the extent to which major food and biotech corporations have hijacked our democracy. It is a blow to transparency, and Americans will hold their elected officials accountable for stripping away our ability to know what’s in the food we eat and feed our families.”
Food & Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all. We stand up to corporations that put profits before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment.
Contact: Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch, (202) 257-0057, [email protected].