Senate Agrees on Dark Act

I thought this was a very good article. It seems a completely futile course of action to continue to talk to the furniture in DC, and because of that, I have not been encouraging people to continue to engage in unprofitable action. Does anyone remember that Obama promised to label GMO’s? I know some voted for the cretin on that promise. 8 years after the fact, and the only meaningful things that have happened are at the state level and in public awareness. Neither of which has had any effect on the District of Criminals regulatory or legislative actions.

Due to my desire to not send people on fruitless expeditions, one positive thing you can do is  use this Non GMO shopping guide. Other positive actions on this front include growing your own, buying from farmers that don’t use man-made chemicals and can tell you the breed of the product, and, if you live in a city or town, work to get urban farming and gardening ordinances in place. Or go guerilla grower. 🙂

Here is the best article I could find on the fed level GMO actions:

Senate Agrees on “DARK Act” GMO Labeling Bill

apples-GMO-DARK-Act-620x360-1By Derrick Broze

The U.S. Senate has announced a bipartisan deal which will prevent states from labeling genetically modified foods in favor of a federal labeling system. Here’s what you need to know…

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry agreed on a new bill aimed at labeling foods with genetically modified ingredients. The committee has been trying for several months to get a bill passed before Vermont’s labeling law goes into effect on July 1.

U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow released a statement, calling the bill “an important path forward that represents a true compromise. Since time is of the essence, we urge our colleagues to move swiftly to support this bill.” Roberts said if his colleagues do not act on the bill now Vermont’s law will cause confusion in the marketplace. The bill would give the U.S. Department of Agriculture two years to write the labeling rules.

The bipartisan proposal would immediately prohibit states and cities from passing labeling laws for genetically modified or engineered ingredients. Genetically modified or engineered seeds are engineered to have certain traits, such as resistance to herbicides. The majority of the United States’ corn and soybean crops are now GE, including a large portion that is used for animal feed.

The bill would also put the USDA in charge of establishing “a uniform national disclosure standard for human food that is or may be bioengineered.” Critics of a federal standard worry about the USDA being pressured by biotechnology companies that have a close relationship to U.S. regulatory agencies. The proposal would also require companies producing foods with GE ingredients to post a label, including text on package, a symbol, or a link to a website (QR code or similar technology). Smaller food manufacturers can use websites or telephone numbers to disclose ingredients.

In late February, Roberts introduced another bill which attempted to create a federal voluntary standard for labeling GE food. Roberts’ Senate Bill 2609, or the Biotech Labeling Solutions Act, would have blocked mandatory labeling efforts by states. In March, the bill failed to reach the 60 votes needed during a procedural vote, with 49 votes in favor and 48 votes against.

Roberts’ bill was similar to the controversial Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which passed the House in June 2015 but ultimately failed amid heavy opposition. To critics, the bill was known as the “DARK” (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act because the law was also aimed at nullifying GMO labeling measures, such as the bill passed in Vermont.

The latest bipartisan effort contains language that is identical to both of the previous bills. The bill would “amend the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 to require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a national voluntary labeling standard for bioengineered foods.” It’s safe to say that this new bipartisan compromise is simply the latest version of the DARK Act and will likely live up to it’s name by keeping Americans in the dark regarding what is in their food.

The bipartisan proposal is supported by certain food industry groups that believe state bills like the one in Vermont will lead to increased costs for agriculture, food companies and consumers. “This bipartisan agreement ensures consumers across the nation can get clear, consistent information about their food and beverage ingredients and prevents a patchwork of confusing and costly state labeling laws,” Pamela Bailey, president of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the largest food industry lobby group, told the Associated Press.

Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch, said the new bill deserves the name DARK Act because it will prevent consumers from have “clear, on-package labels” as required by the Vermont law.  “But this deal from Senators Stabenow and Roberts doesn’t even come close, and would instead require consumers to have smartphones and a cellphone signal to know what they are buying,” Hauter said in a statement. “This deal seems to be designed to ensure that big food processing companies and the biotechnology industry continue to profit by misleading consumers.”

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and Senator Bernie Sanders both spoke against the new measure. Shumlin criticized the two-year delay, while Sanders said he would do “everything I can” to stop the bill. Meanwhile, the Huffington Post reports that the bill “also allows companies to avoid the main thing consumers have demanded – a fast and easy way to determine if a food product they are purchasing was made using genetically engineered crops.”

The key argument seems to be that the new bill would not have as clear labels as Vermont’s law. Senator Stabenow, however, believes the opposite, claiming that the Vermont law would require GMO labeling of a cheese pizza but not a pepperoni pizza. “Throughout this process I worked to ensure that any agreement would recognize the scientific consensus that biotechnology is safe, while also making sure consumers have the right to know what is in their food,” the senator wrote.

The scientific consensus does lean towards the safety of GE foods, but that has not swayed critics and supporters of labeling. A recent report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine concluded GE foods do not pose a health or environmental risk. Critics of the report point to conflicts of interests between researchers with the National Academy of Sciences and biotechnology companies involved in the creation of GE crops.

The environmental watchdog organization Food and Water Watch released their own report, pointing to possible influence from the same organizations that stand to benefit from the growth of genetic engineering of foods. The report, Under the Influence: The National Research Council and GMOs, looks at “far-reaching ties” between the National Research Council, its parent organization the NAS, and biotechnology companies and agricultural corporations.

Americans who want to know what is in their food need to take control of their own food production and stop relying on large-scale, factory farming which increasingly relies on genetically engineered seeds. Only by taking back the power when it comes to our diets can we stop supporting the systems that are working against our health and freedom. It’s time to grow food, not lawns. It’s time to throw seed bombs everywhere. The revolution is growing and resistance is fertile.

Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the Lead Investigative Reporter for ActivistPost.com and the founder of the TheConsciousResistance.com. Follow him on Twitter.

GMO Labeling Continues Losing Streak

The most telling thing in this article is the amount of money spent by out of state interests in the “NO” camp of GMO labeling. It’s one of those ridiculous things that, to me, illustrates just how corrupt and non-representative our political process has become. We are so free, we can’t even know for certain what is in our food. And what’s more, we can’t buy it from each other without the oversight of those who want to tell us that “Round Up Ready” corn, etc is not significantly different enough from regular old corn to warrant either testing or labeling. However, it is significantly different enough to allow a life form to be patented. They are out to take care of you alright. Like taking care of a sick chicken.

At any rate, here’s an article on the issue:

The initiative would have required labels on foods containing genetically engineered ingredients

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Washington state voters on Tuesday rejected an initiative that would have required foods containing genetically engineered ingredients to be labeled.

The vote was 54.8% opposed to labeling and 45.2% in favor of it.

Had it passed, Initiative 522 would have made the state the first in the nation to require such labeling.

The initiative was the most expensive in state history, though it was largely fought by out-of-state interests.

The No on 522 campaign set a record for fundraising, bringing in $22 million in donations according to The Seattle Times. Just $550 came from Washington residents, according to the newspaper. The top five contributors were the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Dow AgroSciences and Bayer CropScience.

The largest donor to the pro-labeling campaign were California-based Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps and the Center for Food Safety in Washington, D.C. However the initiative garnered almost 30% of its funding from individuals in Washington state, the Times reported.

Food industry ads claimed that the initiative would raise food prices. Labels would mislead consumers into thinking that products that contain genetically engineered ingredients are “somehow different, unsafe or unhealthy,” said Brian Kennedy of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, a food industry group based in Washington, D.C.

The Yes on 522 campaigns emphasized consumers right to know what’s in their food.

The Washington initiative was part of an ongoing national fight by those opposed to genetically engineered crops to push for labeling. A similar,bruising $37 million battle in California in 2012 went against labeling advocates. The final vote was 51.4% opposed and 48.6% in favor.

“Sooner or later, one of these is going to pass. It’s only a matter of time. At some point the industry is going to get tired of pouring this kind of money into these campaigns,” said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University.

She said she doesn’t believe there’s anything dangerous about genetically engineered foods but is concerned about corporate control of the food supply.

Genetically engineered crops have a gene from another plant inserted into them to give them some ability they didn’t have before.

There are two common genetic modifications. One is for herbicide tolerance: Plants are given a gene that protects them from harm when a farmer sprays them with herbicides to kill weeds. The other is a gene from a soil bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis that allows plants to produce their own insecticide.

A huge proportion of commodity crops grown by U.S. farmers are genetically engineered: 97% of the nation’s sugar beets, 93% of the soybeans, 90% of the cotton and 90% of the feed corn for animals, according to the 2013 figures from the Department of Agriculture.

About 60% of the papaya grown in the United States, all in Hawaii, has been genetically engineered to allow it to withstand the ringspot virus, which virtually wiped out papaya production in the islands in the 1980s, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications.

Very small amounts of genetically engineered zucchini, yellow squash and sweet corn are also sold in the United States.

The Food and Drug Administration does not require foods containing genetically engineered ingredients to be labeled because it considers them “functionally equivalent” to conventionally grown crops.

Monsanto and Gates Work to Prevent Wash State from Knowing GMO

A  new genetically modified food labeling initiative is likely to fail as Monsanto out-funds its opponents.

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 27: Activists protest against agricultural biotech company Monsanto outside the White House on March 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. Monsanto, which engineers genetically modified seeds, recently benefited from a section buried in the latest budget bill that allows the agribusiness giant to plant genetically-modified crops without judicial review to determine whether or not their crops are safe. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – Activists protest against agricultural biotech company Monsanto outside the White House on March 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. Monsanto, which engineers genetically modified seeds, recently benefited from a section buried in the latest budget bill that allows the agribusiness giant to plant genetically-modified crops without judicial review to determine whether or not their crops are safe. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Staff Writer
Intellihub.com
September 24, 2013

WASHINGTON STATE — Initiative 522 (I-522) is all about our right as consumers to know if we are purchasing and consuming genetically modified foods or not. And just like we saw in California with a similar ballot initiative, the chance for large corporate interests to persevere in the end, shooting-down the initiative is likely.

So far opponents of genetically modified food labeling have raised over $11 billion to fight the initiative.

Now Washingtonians are realizing they have no voice as they remain powerless against the Bill Gates supported Monsanto corporation.

Some like the fact that I-522 would also take care of labeling genetically modified fish, which is a big issue amongst Washingtonians.[1] The Washington wheat and apple industry is also covered in I-522 according to the official website.

Others like professor Goldberg, claim that organic supermarkets are actually pushing the bill and not the general public. Melissa Allison, SeattleTimes.com wrote, “Biology professor Goldberg, who has worked with the technology and believes it can help feed people and bring them greater nutrition, calls labeling supporters “the climate deniers of the left.”

He claims Whole Foods and other corporate supporters of I-522 want to heighten the public’s concerns about genetically engineered food “because it will drive people into their grocery stores.”[2] While this may be true, why have Americans become so docile that they could careless what they eat?