The DARK Side

Consumers are not always politically in touch. But we should be. Just last week the U.S. House of Representative quietly slipped through and passed H.R. 1599. Labeled, “The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015, most of us know it as The “Deny Americans the Right to Know” Act or simply, The DARK Act.

And while we consumers are being kept in the dark, Monsanto is celebrating a big win, because The DARK act is about GMO labeling. In fact, it is a runaway victory for Monsanto, taking away all states’ rights to demand GMO labeling as Vermont, Maine and Connecticut have already done.

Other aspects of The DARK Act include denying localities the right to establish “GMO production-free” zones and several counties in California and Oregon have done. Further, it would eliminate certification programs like the non-profit Non-GMO Project. Putting a sly spin on the program, Monsanto allies call it “voluntary labeling.”

So which of your Representatives support Monsanto’s DARK Act over your Right to Know? All seven Republican Congressional Representatives from Indiana voted against “we, the people.” That includes Susan Brooks, Todd Rokita, Luke Messer, Marlin Stutzman, Jackie Walorski, Todd Young and Larry Bucshon. The only Hoosiers that voted against Monsanto and on behalf of the consumer were Democrats Andre Carson and Peter Visclosky.

Whether you support GMO foods or not, this is about labeling foods, and the consumers’ right to know what is in our foods. Let your representative know what you think. A quick phone call or email is sufficient. The DARK Act is expected to go to the Senate sometime in September. Don’t wait until AFTER the vote to tell Senators Dan Coats and Joe Donnelly your concerns.

~Lynn Jenkins

2 Comments

  1. Carolyn orr

    Perhaps publishing an article that would counter this one is in order? there are many but how about –
    http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/07/no-one-is-denying-a-right-to-know-whats-in-my-food/399536/, this piece is written by James Hamblin, MD, a senior editor at The Atlantic. He writes the health column for the monthly magazine and hosts the video series If Our Bodies Could Talk.

    To quote his article “Who doesn’t want to know what’s in their food? As pro-rights arguments go, that sounds pretty airtight.

    Except that the act doesn’t deny people that right. Nothing will stop food manufacturers who avoid “genetically modified” ingredients from labeling and marketing their products accordingly. People who object to genetic modification—either because of concerns about the prudence of introducing certain crops into certain ecosystems, or because of patent laws and corporate business practices, or because these people are among the majority of Americans who now believe any and all “genetically modified” foods to be inherently unhealthful to consume (despite assurances to the contrary from The World Health Organization, Food and Drug Administration, American Medical Association, National Academy of Sciences, and American Association for the Advancement of Science, among others)—can continue to pay premiums for products that are marketed as “GMO free,” which implies health and safety, even while the implication is without merit. Some go so far as to call it fraud.
    The central and debilitating fallacy of the “right to know” argument is the meaninglessness and misleading nature of what is being known. Humans have been practicing bioengineering for centuries with selective breeding and cultivation. The Non-GMO Project defines “genetically modified organisms” as those “artificially manipulated in a laboratory” as opposed to “traditional cross-breeding methods,” wherein a laboratory is the nidus of transgression. It was only as recently as 1979 that Gallatin Valley Seed won the All American Selection Award for creating a variety of pea known as sugar snap, which is now ubiquitous, but carries no Franken-crop warning label. Indeed, most any act of agriculture could be considered an imposition of “unnatural” human activity into malleable, unassuming ecosystems. The domain of bioengineering is too vast and complex to know what exactly to make of blanket “GMO” labels; the hopeful premise that this is a binary indicator of good or evil is false. Should I have the “right to know” if my food contains ghosts?

    Long-term effects of introducing certain crops into certain ecosystems, and the business practices with which they are grown and sold, are enormously important and remain to be seen and carefully considered. Some effects of agriculture will be desirable, some untoward, and effects of both kinds will come from crops that run the gamut of what has been “modified” by human intervention, and to what degree. But “GMO-free” does not mean fair trade, and it does not mean sustainable, and it does not mean monoculture-averting, and it does not mean rainforest-enabling, and it does not mean labor-friendly, and it does not mean healthy, though it puffs its chest and carries itself alongside those claims. Activists march with signs that say “I AM NOT AN EXPERIMENT.” But the state of having 7 billion food-consuming humans on this planet—6 billion more than there were two centuries ago—is an unprecedented experiment.

    It’s because of this meaninglessness, and fear perpetuated by a “natural” food industry, that a right to know is in this case a right to be misled. And this act continues to give food companies the right to tout and sell “GMO-free” as some halo of wholesome virtue, which would be lovely and elegant if it meant progress toward sustainably feeding the world healthful food, but it does not.”

    Reply
    1. Kris Brock - Employee

      We work for 100% traceability of our food items as we believe in our customers ability to make choices. Not all of our products are GMO free as it has not yet been possible. Yet it is a goal we have.

      Reply

Leave a Reply