Reps. Pompeo and Butterfield Will Introduce Industry Bill to Deny States' Rights to Label GMOs

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Expert contact: Lisa Archer, (510) 900-3145, larcher@foe.org

Communications contact: Kate Colwell, (202) 783-0744, kcolwell@foe.org

Reps. Pompeo and Butterfield Will Introduce Industry Bill to Deny States' Rights to Label GMOs

WASHINGTON - U.S. Representatives Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) will introduce legislation this afternoon, dubbed by critics the “Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act,” that would block states from requiring labels for foods made with genetically-engineered ingredients. The bill would also restrict the Food and Drug Administration’s ability to mandate national GMO labeling and replace the independent Non-GMO Project certification with a far weaker, federal, non-GMO labeling standard.

“This chemical and junk food industry dream bill does nothing to achieve what more than 93 percent of Americans want -- labeling of GMOs -- and is a blatant attack on states’ ability to ensure our right to know what we are feeding our families,” said Lisa Archer, Food and Technology program director with Friends of the Earth. “This bill would set in stone the current, voluntary labeling system that has failed consumers and would replace strong, independent, non-GMO certification with a weak federal program; adding more confusion for consumers who have a right to know what’s in their food.”

The bill is backed by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, PepsiCo, biotech giant Monsanto and Koch Industries. Rep. Pompeo has been the single largest recipient of campaign funds from Koch Industries in recent elections.

New health concerns about GMOs are raising the stakes for labeling initiatives. Last week, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer listed glyphosate -- the key ingredient in the world’s most widely used herbicide -- as a probable human carcinogen.

A study published yesterday by the American Society of Microbiology's Journal mBio links three of the most ubiquitous herbicides -- glyphosate, 2,4-D and Dicamba, all of which are used with herbicide tolerant GMOs -- to antibiotic resistance. The chemicals 2,4-D and Dicamba have also been linked to cancer, reproductive and developmental harm and other health problems.

“The evidence is mounting that Monsanto’s glyphosate and other chemicals used on genetically-engineered crops may be harming our health. Americans have more reason than ever to want to know whether they are eating GMOs,” Archer continued.

Last month, Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) reintroduced the bipartisan Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, which would direct the FDA to require labeling of GMOs.

“We call on Congress to stand up to Big Food and chemical corporations by opposing the DARK Act, and stand with the majority of Americans who want mandatory GMO labeling,” Archer said.

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Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.

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