Statement From Ronnie Cummins on Reintroduction of Federal Bill to Kill States’ Rights to GMO Labeling Laws

Finland, Minnesota – The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) issued the following statement today in response to plans by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) to reintroduce a federal bill to preempt states’ rights to enactGMO labeling laws, and create a voluntary non-GMO labeling scheme.

International Director Ronnie Cummins said:

“The Pompeo bill, aptly dubbed the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act, is not only anti-consumer, but anti-democracy and anti-state’s rights as well.

“The bill will take away the right of states to require GMO labeling and will legalize the routine industry practice of labeling genetically engineered (GE) foods as ‘natural’ or ‘all natural.’ It also includes a complicated scheme for voluntary labeling of non-GMO foods.

“The DARK Act overturns the century-old balance of power between the federal government and the states, whereby states have exercised their right to pass numerous laws regarding food safety or food labels when thefederal government failed to act.

“Since 1994, when controversial GE foods were forced onto the market, with no labeling nor independent safety testing required, consumers have demanded mandatory labeling of GE foods and food ingredients. After 20 years of waiting for the federal government to heed the people’s will, citizens have begun lobbying in every state and organizing ballot initiatives to pass mandatory GE food labeling at the state level. Vermont passed the nation’s first mandatory labeling law in 2014, prompting Big Food and the chemical industry to try to reverse the law in federal court.

“Understanding that they are losing the battle at the state level to keep consumers in the dark about whether or not their food is genetically engineered, Monsanto and its minions are now prepared to abolish consumer choice and overturn state’s constitutional rights so that they can continued to force feed us their GMO foods—foods grown with the toxic chemical, glyphosate, which just last week the World Health Organization declared a ‘probable human carcinogen.’

“More than 90 percent of consumers want the same basic right that consumers in more than 60 other countries already have—a simple label stating whether or not a product contains GMOs. Research has shown that GMOlabels will not increase food prices, contrary to industry claims. The sole reason to pass this bill is to keepconsumers in the dark about what’s in their food.

“We must the stop the Pompeo Bill dead in its tracks. This is a fight, not just for consumer rights, but for democracy as well. “