By Ken Roseboro

Published: August 11, 2015

Category: The Non-GMO Blog

Young corn field close-up at the sunset

Over the past few years, there has been a food awakening growing across the United States. More and more people are choosing to eat simpler, more natural, and organic foods. They are also rejecting foods with genetically modified ingredients because they are concerned about the health and environmental risks of these GM foods, which haven’t been tested for safety and are leading to huge increases in pesticide use.

As a result, Americans have been calling for foods containing these GMO ingredients to be labeled. Citizens have lobbied their state governments to pass laws to require labeling. Several courageous state legislatures have passed laws, including Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine. People in California, Washington, and Oregon launched ballot initiatives to label GM foods in their states. These were narrowly defeated only because major food and GMO/pesticide corporations spent millions of dollars to defeat them.

In an ideal democracy—even a decent democracy—a national government would respond to the wishes of its citizens and enact mandatory GMO labeling.

Instead, the US government has done the opposite—attempt to crush such initiatives, pushed by those same corporations. The House of Representatives recently passed the so-called “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act,” popularly known as the DARK Act (Deny Americans the Right to Know).

In the dystopian society described in George Orwell’s book 1984, a slogan was “War is Peace.” Today Congress is telling us “Denying Americans the Right to Know” is “Ensuring Consumer Choice.”

This bill was dubbed the DARK Act because that is exactly what it is. It preempts state labeling initiatives, establishes voluntary, i.e. meaningless GMO labeling, and creates a weak voluntary verification system for non-GMO foods. It is an assault on the democratic process.

Now the fight over labeling goes to the Senate where passing such unpopular legislation will have a tougher time. Let’s hope it goes nowhere there.

When historians look back on this era of Citizens United, of our government being the lap dog for large corporations while ignoring the interests of its citizens, they will point to the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act as a dark example.

The good news is that the food awakening will only continue to grow, and this desperate attempt to crush it will ultimately fail—one way or another.

About the Author

Ken Roseboro

Ken Roseboro has been called “the nation’s reporter on all issues surrounding genetically modified foods” by Acres USA magazine. He has written extensively about GM foods and the non-GMO trend since 1999. Ken’s articles have appeared in leading food and agriculture publications and websites such as Civil Eats, Harvest Public Media, Prepared Foods, Natural Foods Merchandiser, Food Processing, as well as The Huffington Post, Yahoo News, Mother Earth News, and others. He is a contributing editor to EcoWatch. Ken is author of Genetically Altered Foods and Your Health and The Organic Food Handbook both published by Basic Health Publications. He has spoken at many conferences including Natural Products Expo West, Acres USA Conference, The Organic Farming Conference, National Heirloom Seed Expo, and others. Ken is a member of the design team of the Non-GMO Supply Working Group and a founding member of the board of directors of the Iowa Organic Association. Ken also serves on the board of directors of Soil Technologies Corporation. He appears in the award-winning documentary film, GMO OMG. In 2006, Ken received an Award of Merit from Seed Savers Exchange for his efforts to preserve genetic diversity through his publications.