What's the deal with the #DARK Act?
This week, Congress is considering the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (a title that Representative John Conyers has appropriately called "Orwellian"). You’ve probably seen arguments against this act all over your social media accounts in the past few weeks. Organizations like Just Label It have popped up to fight it. Companies like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry's, and Stonyfield are asking their customers to call their Representatives and ask them to vote against it.
But what’s the big deal? A bill about ‘safe and accurate food labeling’ seems pretty innocuous, right?
In reality, this bill is completely at odds with safe and accurate food labeling, which is why it has acquired the much more appropriate moniker the ‘DARK Act’ --as in, ‘The Denying Americans the Right to Know Act.’
Here are some of the main issues in the bill, explained by Rep John Conyers:
It would bar the FDA from introducing mandatory labeling of GMOs (labeling that 89% of Americans support.)
It would ban states from introducing mandatory labeling of GMOs--even if voters were to demand such labeling through a ballot measure. This, to me, is the most terrifying part of the bill, because it is both an assault to state's rights and a clear indicator of the power that corporate lobbyists hold over public interests.
The bill would also block state and local efforts to protect farmers and the public from seed and pesticide drift.
The bill could also block state and local efforts to regulate GMO crops (and related chemicals) in order to protect farm workers and rural residents from economic and environmental damages.
As Reps. John McCovern and Chellie Pingree explain, the debate over the DARK act is not about whether or not you support the use of GMOs. As you probably know, debate over GMOs is rife with issues. The science on the safety of GMOs in a human diet is far from conclusive. Huge companies like Monsanto have the right to file lawsuits against small farmers if Monsanto seeds get blown into their fields. There are concerns over biodiversity loss and the 'probably'-carcinogenic pesticide glyphosate.
But like I said, the debate over the DARK act is not about GMOs themselves. Instead, the debate is simply about consumers’ right to know what’s in the food they put on their tables. So it doesn't matter whether or not you support the use or consumption of GMOs. This debate is over consumers' right to know what's in their food, plain and simple.
When more Americans support GMO labeling than like apple pie, it is an insult to consumers that Congress is even considering this bill.
Denying consumers that right is a fundamental attack on transparency. At HowGood, we believe consumers have the right to know what’s in their food, where it came from, and how it was grown. That’s why we need to #StoptheDARKact.
So how can you help?
Fortunately, you can help. It’s as simple picking up the phone or sending an email.
Just Label It also has a list of things you can do to support GMO labeling and/or avoid GMOs altogether, if that’s what you want to do.
If this is an issue you care about, you should take action now--before it's too late.