A new bill introduced in Congress could soon prohibit any state from making it mandatory to label whether or not foods contain genetically modified organisms.
Dubbed the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act,” the bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), Reuters reports. If passed, the bill would overturn some 24 state laws that require food manufacturers to clearly label if their products contain GMOs. Under Pompeo’s proposal, no state could make it mandatory to label whether ingredients in foods were bioengineered.
According to Pompeo, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act was introduced to create a unified standard dealing with GMOs, rather than allowing individual states to create their own rules about labeling products.
"We've got a number of states that are attempting to put together a patchwork quilt of food labeling requirements with respect to genetic modification of foods," Pompeo told Reuters. "That makes it enormously difficult to operate a food system. Some of the campaigns in some of these states aren't really to inform consumers but rather aimed at scaring them. What this bill attempts to do is set a standard."
Pompeo may believe that it’s unnecessary to tell customers whether or not their foods contain GMOs, but several anti-GMO organizations, including the Environmental Working Group and the Center for Food Safety, disagree. The two have taken to referring to the bill as the “Deny Americans the Right-to-Know” (DARK) act.
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Both groups have repeatedly called on both Congress and state governments to enact legislation requiring food manufacturers to clearly label if their foods contain bioengineered ingredients.
In reaction to Pompeo’s bill, the Environmental Working Group pointed to a number of surveys showing that more than 90 percent of Americans believe food companies should be required to disclose whether their products contain GMOs.
“More than 90 percent of Americans support labeling of GE foods,” Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president of government affairs, said in a statement. “It’s clear the public wants to know what’s in their food, but if Rep. Pompeo has his way, no one will have that right.”
Meanwhile, the Center for Food Safety criticized Pompeo not just for his pro-GMO stance but for his ties to conservative billionaires the Koch brothers as well as genetic endangering company Monsanto. Colin O’Neil, director of government affairs for the Center for Food Safety, says that Pompeo, the Koch brothers and Mansanto are working against the interests of the American people.
“[The] selection of Congressman Pompeo as their champion shows how extreme the proposal really is,”O’Neil told RT on Wednesday. “Selecting Pompeo creates an unholy alliance between Monsanto and Koch Industries, two of the most reviled corporations in America."