In the absence of a federal requirement tolabel GMOs, food activists have taken matters into their own hands, passing labeling laws in Vermont, Maine and Connecticut and putting the issue on the ballot in California, Washington, Colorado and Oregon. Big Food and its friends in the biotechnology industry haven’t liked this one bit, and have spent over $80 million over the past several years to defeat GMO labeling ballot initiatives.
If you’ve been following the debate recently, you also know that companies like Monsanto have launched an aggressive PR campaign to sell the public on this questionable technology. Even beloved scientist Bill Nye has joined the fray, flipping his previously critical position on GMOs after a recent visit to Monsanto’s headquarters.
As we’ve said before, the debate over GMOs isn’t just about their possible environmental and public health effects. It’s also about who controls the food system.
Today, Big Food’s play for control became ever more clear when Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS) introduced the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which might as well be called the “Denying Americans the Right to Know” Act (DARK Act), or Monsanto’s Dream Bill. This is not Pompeo’s first ride in the GMO rodeo. He first introduced this bill in the last Congress. Apparently the wave of state-level progress towards labeling GMOs rankled the giant companies that sell GMOs or make processed food out of them, so their trade association, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, decided to cut them off from the get-go by orchestrating federal legislation to block the states from getting in the labeling game.