PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
From Occupy Sonoma County
DARK Act to be introduced into U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday, March 1
On Friday, February 19, 2016, Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, introduced the Senate version of a bill known as the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act but called by critics the “Deny Americans the Right to Know” (DARK) Act. It goes to the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday, March 1. The bill will preempt state and local authorities from labeling and regulating genetically engineered (GE) foods and in effect overturns existing laws in RI, MN, and VT requiring mandatory labeling of foods (Vermont’s law is set to go into effect on July 1, 2016). It will also block pending legislation in 17 other states. The bill will make it virtually impossible for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ever implement mandatory GE labeling and make it harder for companies like Campbell’s Soup to voluntarily disclose the presence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It will continue the current policy of allowing companies tovoluntarily label GMO products, but since 2001, not one company has implemented voluntary labeling.
A similar bill, HR 1599, passed the House of Representatives last July. It languished in the Senate, so it was added as a rider on the omnibus must-pass spending bill in December 2015. Due to intense public pressure, it was effectively blocked by 13 Senators. Now the bill will be debated in the Senate.
There are 64 countries around the world that already require GE foods to be labeled, including Russia, China, Japan, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and all member countries in the European Union. According to the latest poll, over 90% of Americans want genetically engineered foods to be labeled.
Intense public pressure from consumers, non-GMO activists, watchdog groups, and allied Senators could again influence the outcome of this bill.
Occupy Sonoma County embraces the egalitarian, deep democracy principles of the Occupy Movement with a regional strategy for effectively organizing county-wide social justice campaigns that are globally relevant.