Organic Consumers Association

Tell Congress: Repeal the DARK Act!

Don’t get mad, get even. 

Just because we lost the GMO labeling fight in Congress this year doesn’t mean the right-to-know movement should roll over and play dead. There’s work to do! The only way to move this issue forward is to repeal the DARK Act, the law that Denied Americans the Right to Know. 

TAKE ACTION: Tell your Senators and Congress Members to support Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)’s efforts to repeal the DARK Act! Fill in the form on this page to sign our petition.

As companies like Monsanto & Bayer consolidate into ever-more-powerful companies to push increasingly risky technologies into our food supply, knowing where our food comes from and how it was produced is more important than ever.

That’s why every poll on the subject has shown that the vast majority of Americans support mandatory labels on all foods that have been produced with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). 

In case you missed it, we got those labels for about a month in this summer, when on July 1, 2016, the tiny-but-mighty state of Vermont brought the U.S. into line with the 64 other countries that label GMOs. Because it was the first and only GMO labeling bill, virtually all of the major food companies found it easiest to label nationwide. The GMO labels Vermont required began appearing across the country. 

Meanwhile, the same companies that sought praise for taking Vermont’s GMO labeling law nationwide were working—and spending $400 million in lobbying—behind the scenes in Congress to override Vermont’s law.

How did corporations convince Congress to ignore the will of more than 90 percent of Americans? The Big Food companies that both sell a lot of GMOs but also have bought up influential organic brands, convinced leaders of the Organic Trade Association (OTA) to do their bidding. 

The leaders of this coup were SmuckersDanone, UNFI, General Mills, and Organic Valley.

Smuckers and UNFI have long held seats on the OTA board, while Danone is represented by recent acquisitions Earthbound Farm and WhiteWave. It’s easy to see why Danone, General Mills, Smuckers and UNFI would oppose labels, given how many GMOs they sell. But why did Organic Valley play along? Because of its business relationships with Danone and General Mills

By putting OTA out front, these companies were able to hide their reluctance to label their GMOs behind claims that the bill overturning Vermont’s GMO labeling law was good for organic because it would allow organic food to be labeled “non-GMO” without being tested for contamination by the Non-GMO Project.

By the end of the month, they’d rammed the preemption bill through Congress and even got the President Barack Obama, who had made a campaign promise to label GMOs, to sign it. 

GMO labels disappeared. In their place? The so-called “National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard” that is: 

• So narrowly defined and riddled with exemptions that it probably won’t disclose any bioengineered foods.

• Allows “disclosure” to be in the form of wordless codes that have to be scanned with a smart phone.

• Won’t be implemented for two years.

• Contains no penalties for non-compliance.

A so-called “disclosure standard” that deliberately misleads, confuses, and hides important information from, consumers is much worse than no GMO labeling law at all. 

We’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain from working to repeal this terrible law.

Take action now to write to your Senators and Member of Congress, and then take action for GMO labels when you vote in November! Check out the Cornucopia Institute’s Congressional GMO Voters Guide: Who Sold Out Your “Right to Know.”