Sanders Takes a Stand Against Senate Bill That Would Undermine Vermont's New GMO Labeling Law (Video)
Legislators appear ruthless in keeping Americans in the dark about what they eat—literally. While 90 percent of Americans support mandatory GMO labeling, H.R. 1599—otherwise known as the Deny Americans the Right to Know, or DARK Act—introduced by Sen. Pat Roberts, would have "preempted states from requiring the labeling of GMO foods," according to Just Label It.
The Senate blocked the bill in March. However a new DARK Act compromise agreement threatens Vermont's new anti-GMO law.
Beyond Pesticides reports:
While proponents of this DARK deal say it will require a mandatory national labeling scheme, the Senate bill includes no mandatory standards. Instead, it preempts Vermont’s law through a discretionary process that will be determined by a future Secretary of Agriculture.
It also does very little to ensure consumers will actually have access to this information because the bill would allow for a range of labeling options that will not warn consumers—quick response (QR) codes, 800 numbers, websites and on-package labeling. This approach leaves poorer Americans at a disadvantage in receiving this information, as QR code labels require the use of a smartphone to read.
"Us[ing] a narrow definition of genetic engineering that would exempt the newest biotech methods such as gene editing from the national disclosure standards... would nullify Vermont's first-in-the-nation GMO labeling law, which takes effect July 1, and would bar any other state from enacting labeling requirements that differ from the federal standards," AgriPulse reported.
Vermont senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is adamant about the labeling of GMOs and stopping the DARK deal from passing. “I am very proud that Vermont has led the country in GMO labeling,” he stated on his Senate website.
He released this statement Tuesday:
On Friday, Vermont will become the first state in the nation to require GMO labeling. This is a triumph for ordinary Americans over the powerful interests of Monsanto and other multi-national food industry corporations. We cannot allow Vermont’s law to be overturned by bad federal legislation that has just been announced. I will do everything I can to defeat this bill, beginning by putting a hold on it in the Senate.The agreement announced by Sens. Pat Roberts and Debbie Stabenow would create a confusing, misleading and unenforceable national standard for labeling GMOs. It would impose no penalties for violating the labeling requirement, making the law essentially meaningless.This isn’t controversial. The overwhelming majority of Americans favor GMO labeling. People have a right to know what is in the food they eat.
"This bill would preempt what Vermont and other states have done," Sanders said. "GMO labeling exists in dozens of countries around the world. It is not controversial. Already major food companies in our country have begun labeling their products. People have a right to know what is in the food they eat. I am going to do everything I can to defeat this legislation."
As Sanders has stressed regarding many of his presidential campaign proposals, "the labeling of GMOs is not a radical concept."
"[GMO labeling] exists throughout the European Union. In fact, it exists throughout dozens and dozens of countries around the world," Sanders said.