Don’t keep Americans in the DARK

Published 9:10 pm Tuesday, June 2, 2015

To the editor:

There are probably few readers of this newspaper who could point out which foods in the grocery store have been produced with genetically modified organisms. Yet according to the latest polls, nearly everyone — more than 90 percent of people — believe they should have the right to know if their food contains GMOs.

That means the majority of Americans support laws that require the mandatory labeling of GMOs.
In July 2016, Vermont will become the first state to enforce a GMO labeling law. Connecticut and Maine have passed laws that will take effect when other states have joined them.

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Bills for mandatory GMO labels are being considered in 18 states this year: Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

This is democracy in action, addressing the demand of nine out of 10 voters.

Unfortunately, companies like Monsanto that manufacture GMO seeds and related pesticides don’t like the democratic process and are attempting to shut it down with a bill in Congress that would take away states’ rights to label GMOs.

The bill (H.R. 1599), known by opponents as the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act, was introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and is supported by a powerful coalition of industry front groups led by the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

Aside from being a direct attack on states’ rights to pass food safety laws, the DARK Act aims to prevent consumers from knowing whether or not their food has been grown with glyphosate, a chemical recently declared a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization.

The biotech and food industries are willing to spend millions to pass the DARK Act. The only way to prevent this bill from passing is for consumers and voters to pressure every member of Congress to reject this bill.

Janet Gurwell