Center for Food Safety (CFS) today expressed strong opposition to Representative Pompeo’s newly revised genetically engineered (GE) food labeling preemption bill (H.R. 1599), which now has been greatly expanded to not only prohibit all labeling of GE foods, but also to make it unlawful for states or local governments to restrict GE crops in any way. These new provisions would not only prohibit any future state and local laws, but also undemocratically nullify GE crop regulations that have existed in numerous counties across the country for over a decade. The bill would also further weaken already weak federal regulation of GE crops, while at the same time forbidding local communities from opting to protect their citizens, their farmers, and their environments. The bill draft will be discussed at a House hearing on Thursday.
“The Monsanto Protection Act is back, and it’s even worse than before. This bill would strip away a state or local government’s basic rights of local control, and hands the biotech industry everything it wants on a silver platter. No Member of Congress that cares about the rights and concerns of his or her constituents should support this bill,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director at Center for Food Safety.
Earlier versions of Rep. Pompeo’s bill, known as the “Denying Americans the Right to Know Act” or DARK Act, preempted states’ rights to require the labeling of GE foods, and this version continues that: It would overturn state labeling laws that have passed in Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine, and stop any future laws from passing. CFS has been a champion of GE food labeling for over two decades, and in the past 2 years, over thirty states have introduced laws requiring the labeling of GE foods. 64 countries around the world require GE food labeling and have not reported higher food costs as a result. Last month, a federal court in Vermont resoundingly rejected industry’s challenges to Vermont’s labeling law, scheduled to take effect next year, becoming the first court to conclude that states do have the right to label GE foods under current law.