DARK Act Defeated by Public Pressure

• Move by Big Pharma, Big Ag to hide ingredients thwarted for the time being by congressmen.

By James Spounias —

Rarely do health-minded people experience political victories in corporatist America, but we should celebrate when they do happen. Progenetically modified organisms (GMO), anti-labeling forces took a blow when the so-called “DARK” Act (Deny Americans the Right to Know) failed to advance in the Senate on March 16, 2016.

Senator Charles Patrick “Pat” Roberts (R.-Kan.) introduced the DARK Act in the Senate as an amendment to the Defund Planned Parenthood bill. Like the House version (H.R. 1599), the measure would have blocked state and federal efforts to require mandatory labeling of GMOs. Roberts’s amendment would have put in place a voluntary participation scheme managed at the federal level.

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As AMERICAN FREE PRESS readers know, the DARK Act is what food activists have been calling the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 sponsored by Representative Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), which would deny Americans the right to know whether there are genetically modified ingredients in their food. The DARK Act would also prevent states from requiring manufacturers to list GMO ingredients.

Pro-labeling activists were on edge because Roberts’s measure passed the Senate Agriculture Committee by 14 to 6 on March 1.

Enough of us—opponents of Big Ag and crony capitalism—let the normally obsequious Senate know that we want GMOs to be labeled. As a result, Roberts’s measure failed to reach the 60-vote cloture requirement necessary to advance in the Senate. By a vote of 49-48, senators failed to reach cloture, which is a parliamentary measure designed to close debate.

Roberts’s amendment proposed that if the Department of Agriculture determined that “fewer than 70% of the ‘most frequently consumed’ packaged foods had clear means of disclosure, it could in theory require a mandatory solution—such as mandatory toll-free numbers or websites. But the test envisioned in the Roberts bill could be easily met by simply including a ‘may contain’ GMOs statement on company websites,” according to Scott Faber, vice president of government affairs of the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment.

Faber speculated that under Roberts’s bill Americans would have “to call a different toll-free number or scan a different website for each and every product—and there’s no guarantee GMO information would even be provided.”

He continued: “It’s ridiculous to expect the American people to wait on hold in grocery aisles or to fumble through websites on mobile phones to find out what’s in their food.”

Senator Jeffrey Alan “Jeff” Merkley (D-Ore.) released the following statement after the DARK Act vote failed in the Senate: “Today is a victory for American consumers. Ordinary Americans stood up and fought back against special interests, and this vote is a testament to their efforts. I stand ready to work with my colleagues to find a path forward that provides a national standard with a consumer-friendly solution. In this deeply divided country, there is still one thing that almost all Americans regardless of political ideology agree on. Nearly nine in 10 Americans support labeling of genetically modified foods. It would be a tragedy to deny Americans their fundamental right to know what is in their food.”

The people won this battle—and we should pat ourselves on the backs, but continue to be vigilant. Big Ag will surely not give up after one loss.



 

NOT OVER

Though health advocates should celebrate the demise of the DARK act, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) may completely override efforts and allow GMOs as well as unsafe foods to be on every store shelf. 

The TPP is a nightmare for those seeking clean foods because it will ultimately supersede already anemic state and federal U.S. laws, which are the result of the revolving door between government and corporate interests.  

It’s important to remember that the regulation of GMOs under American law are rife with corruption. As attorney and executive director of the Alliance for Bio-Integrity Steven Druker explains, “Although most Americans (including those who serve in government) are unaware of it, genetically engineered foods are on the market only because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has covered up the warnings of its own scientists, misrepresented the facts, and violated explicit mandates of U.S. law.”

The TPP would exploit this aberration and allow GMOs to be in foods without labeling. Moreover, unsafe foods made abroad under very sketchy conditions would enter the U.S. without proper scrutiny because the TPP could be used to prevent U.S. inspections.

This is why vigilant Americans need let President Barack Hussein Obama, presidential candidates, and our representatives in Congress know we are adamantly opposed to the final adoption of the TPP.

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James Spounias is the president of Carotec Inc., originally founded by renowned radio show host and alternative health expert Tom Valentine and his wife, Carole. To receive a free issue of Carotec Health Report—a monthly newsletter loaded with well-researched and reliable alternative health information—please write Carotec, P.O. Box 9919, Naples, FL 34101 or call 1-800-522-4279. Also included will be a list of the high-quality health supplements Carotec recommends.

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