GMO Labeling Now Law! Oh, wait, that’s not what it says.
On July 29, President Obama signed a GMO Labeling Law. Except, no GMO labeling is likely to take place. That’s why opponents of the bill have called it the Denying Americans the Right to Know law, otherwise known as the DARK Act.
GMOs – genetically modified organisms – are foods that have had their DNA artificially altered. In the US, they are in at least 75% of all the food Americans eat. In fact, 88% of the US corn crop, 94% of US soybeans, 90% of US canola, 90% of US cottonseed, and a full 95% of all the sugar beets grown in the US are genetically modified.
But more than half of the countries of the European Union completely ban GMOs.
The science is split on whether GMOs are harmful to our health. Studies in Europe found severe liver and kidney damage, as well as hormonal disturbances, in rats fed genetically modified maize in conjunction with low levels of Roundup — levels that were below those permitted in most drinking water.
But a recent report sponsored by the US Congress said that there is no evidence to show that genetically modified foods are harmful. By the way, Big Ag and the chemical food companies spent over $100 million in lobbying in 2015. Then the US Congress, with wallets full of campaign cash, agreed with Big Ag and passed the DARK Act.
All of the debate aside, wouldn’t you like the right to choose for yourself whether to buy genetically modified food? After all, you want to have a say‑so in what you feed your family.
Vermont’s GMO labeling law went into effect on July 1, 2016. But the DARK Act prevents states from passing GMO labeling laws, and nullifies what Vermont did.
Let’s say you’re in the grocery store. You’re careful about your health and your family’s heath. You’re a responsible shopper.
You pick up this can. The ingredients are listed. There’s a protein, fat and fiber analysis, calories – all the normal things you expect. Then you decide to compare the food labeled under the DARK Act. You see an 800 number or a QR code for you to get out your cell phone and scan. That’s what the DARK Act allows: companies can use not‑so‑simple technologies to make it difficult for you to determine what’s in your food. In fact, some of the genetic modifying ingredients don’t even have to be listed under the new federal law.
By the way, this can with all the easy‑to‑read items is dog food. I can easily find out what I feed my dog, but under the DARK Act, what’s in MY food, or the food of my children, well, that’s pretty much hidden.
There’s a quote from Hamlet that comes to mind: “Methinks thou dost protest too much,” In other words, if GMO foods are so safe, why are the companies that make it so afraid to say what’s in it?