Well, this sucks – while 9 out of 10 Americans are for the labeling of genetically modified foods – the gov does *not* think the people have a right to know. Legislation named the Deny Americans the Right to know, or DARK Act (H.R. 1599), passed the House of Reps yesterday by a vote of 275-150. The bill creates a voluntary labeling system, blocks the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from implementing mandatory to labeling of genetically engineered foods, and allows companies to continue to make misleading claims.
64 nations require labeling, including Russia, China, the EU, and important trading partners in Asia, and 19 countries in Europe are banning these foods. But instead, in the United States, we’re going to continue consuming them and denying people the right to know. That’s some bullshit right there.
Just Label It launched the “Conceal of Reveal” campaign, which calls on Americans to ask popular food brands to stop funding anti-labeling efforts and stand with the overwhelming number of Americans who support mandatory GMO labeling
According to Center for Food Safety, a number of messaging amendments were offered by champions of labeling and states’ rights intended to underscore the bill’s flaws, however all failed to pass:
-Leading opponent of the bill, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) offered an amendment that if passed would have required that any U.S. company who produces a product in the U.S. be bound by the same labeling requirement held in another country.
-Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) offered an amendment that would have removed everything from the underlying bill with the exception of provisions establishing a non-GMO certification program at USDA.
-Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) offered an amendment to specify that as FDA defines the term “natural,” that it does so to exclude GE foods and ingredients.
-An amendment offered by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) would have ensured that the preemption provisions in the underlying bill do not abdicate the sovereign right of Native American tribes to prohibit or restrict the cultivation of GE crops on tribal lands.
-An amendment to change the name to the Denying Americans the Right to Know or DARK Act was introduced by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) after the final vote.
How to protect yourself
Since the government doesn’t have our back, here’s what you can do:
1. Buy organic. Organic companies cannot knowingly use genetically modified ingredients.
2. Especially avoid some of the most highly genetically modified crops, such as corn, soy, canola or cottonseed. Those corn chips at the Mexican restaurant or in your pantry? Genetically modified unless organic. French fries from the fast-food place on the corner? Fried in oil made from genetically modified corn or soy. That delicious “healthy” stir-fry from the Asian restaurant? Genetically modified canola oil was the “healthy” oil they stir-fried it in. When eating out try to avoid fried foods, or foods with a lot of added oils unless they are using 100 percent olive oil or another pure fat/oil.
3. If you eat out a lot, try to start cutting back and eat at home more. You will have much more control over your consumption of genetically modified foods. Plus, you will pay less for higher quality.
4. Watch out for packaged foods. Not only are they probably full of refined flour and sugar, but they almost always have one or more GMO ingredient. GMO’s are in roughly 80 percent of the packaged foods sold in the USA and Canada. You now have one more reason to avoid them.