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Sept. 14 -The House of Representatives has passed HR 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, another one of those legislative titles that are the opposite of what the substance of the bill actually proposes. The Act, which still needs Senate approval and a presidential signature—neither of which are guaranteed—would establish uniform labeling standards at the federal level for foods containing genetically modified organisms—GMOs—as well as for GMO-free foods.
A key element of the Act is that it only requires food companies to participate voluntarily. Opponents of the Act, who see the chances of voluntary participation as slim to none, have labeled it the DARK Act, short for “Deny Americans the Right to Know.” In fact, as soon as the vote approving the Act was completed, one of its opponents actually proposed changing the name to the DARK Act. That went nowhere fast.
The Act is sort of like having voluntary speed limits, basically having the government say, "We suggest you go 15 miles per hour in this school zone but you don't have to if you don't want to.”
The effort to label GMO foods should be understood in large part as a substitute for trying to rein in the use of genetically modified seeds in the U.S. where some 80% to 90% of the corn, soybean, and cotton crops are produced from GM seeds. Given that well-entrenched situation, the foes of GMOs have focused on the labeling issue since trying to end the use of GM crops does not appear to have any likelihood of success.