House Votes Against GMO Labeling

Despite growing opposition, the Safe and Affordable Food Labeling Act (HR 1599), which would take away the right for states to label genetically engineered foods, passed the House of Representatives yesterday.

Opponents of the bill argue that states would have less power to insure the safety of farmworkers exposed to toxic chemicals like glyphosate and 2,4-D that are commonly used on GMOs. There is also concern that states would be restricted from creating buffers that protect elementary schools and public gathering spaces from chemical overspray at nearby farms.

Scott Faber, senior vice president of government affairs for Environmental Working Group (EWG) said, “It’s outrageous that some House lawmakers voted to ignore the wishes of nine out of 10 Americans. [Yesterday’s] vote to deny Americans the right to know what’s in their food and how it’s grown was a foregone conclusion. This House was bought and paid for by corporate interests, so it’s no surprise that it passed a bill to block states and the FDA from giving consumers basic information about their food.”

According to an updated 2014 study by the EWG, “Food and biotechnology companies opposed to mandatory labeling of foods that contain genetically modified food ingredients have disclosed expenditures of $63.6 million in 2014 to lobby for legislation that made reference to GMO labeling.” The proposed legislation is expected to go to the Senate before Fall 2015.

Activist/artist Neil Young has recently targeted Monsanto with his new album, The Monsanto Years, with a 10-minute film about genetically engineered seeds. "The DARK act takes away the rights of those people to vote for or against things like GMO labeling in their states," Young wrote. "It does seem ironic. If the act is passed, it will truly be a dark day for America."