New version of DARK Act approved


The U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee has passed a new version of Senator Pat Roberts’ Mark on Biotechnology Labeling Solutions in a bipartisan vote of 14-6. GMO-labeling proponents call the bill the “Deny Americans the Right to Know” (DARK) Act.

On February 19, Senate Agriculture Chairman Roberts introduced draft legislation intended to preempt states from mandating labels on genetically engineered (GE, also known as genetically modified, or GMO) foods.

A similar bill—the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act—was passed July 2015 by the House and would take away states’ rights to label and regulate GMO crops.

Roberts’ bill aims to amend the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 to require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a national voluntary labeling standard for bioengineered foods, and for other purposes.

Chef, advocate, and Food Policy Action co-founder Tom Colicchio expressed disappointment at the Committee’s passage of the newest version of the DARK Act.

“It’s unbelievable that members of the Senate Agriculture Committee would vote to continue the same broken system of voluntary GMO labeling that keeps consumers in the dark about what’s in their food and how it’s grown,” Colicchio said in a press release. “Americans deserve transparent and accurate information to make their own decision about what to feed their families.”

Chef Colicchio recently asked chefs to weigh in with opposition to the Senate’s new version of the DARK Act, garnering nearly 4,000 signatures in less than a week. The chefs are urging Senators to reject any attempt to prevent mandatory labeling of genetically modified food.

Advocates of mandatory labeling point out that 64 countries require labels on GE foods.

[H/T Food Policy Action]

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