Will GMO foods be labeled?

An important issue is playing out in the US Senate this week.  The issues is whether our foods will be labeled as to whether they contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

The State of Vermont has adopted a pioneering law requiring such labeling that does into effect on July 1st.

Note that this controversy is not about the pros and cons of GMOs, but only about labeling them so people can make their own decisions about consuming them.

From a Minnesota point of view, the key point is that our two senators, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, are under huge pressure from big-ag and big-food interests to help kill labeling by voting for a meaningless federal bill that would override the Vermont bill.

Unless they hear from LOTS of people they may very well vote with the dark side.

I wrote an alert on this yesterday, with details and contact information for Klobuchar, who by some reports has already rolled.

A better alert is this one, via Wanda Ballantine:

From: GMO Free USA <info@gmofreeusa.org>

Subject: Look who sold us out – take action

Date: June 27, 2016 at 6:00:44 AM CDT

To: wsb70@comcast.net

Reply-To: info@gmofreeusa.com

This is the most critical week ever for GMO labeling. We need your help — EVERY DAY THIS WEEK — to stop the worst version yet of the DARK Act.

Hi Wanda,

We’ve beaten the Senate back before, but they’re coming down hard and it’s different this time.Because this time, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) a “membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America” has publicly endorsed this bill as an acceptable national standard for “labeling GMOs.”

What the OTA meant to say is this is an acceptable standard for NOT labeling GMOs to drive fearful consumers to buy more organic food. The bill also allows all USDA organics to be labeled Non-GMO without verification of any potential contamination — an added boost for organics. OTA’s endorsement of the DARK Act is a huge and divisive blow to the food movement — a symptom of the problems we face when large corporate organic stakeholders, such as Stonyfield Organic, Smucker’s and WhiteWave, gain significant influence over our legislative process.We’ve been sold out.

Senators Pat Roberts and Debbie Stabenow have teamed up to author what is without a doubt the worst piece of pro-GMO, anti-consumer and anti-transparency legislation in U.S. history. They’re now boasting of endorsements from both sides of the fence – they’ve got Big Food, Big Ag AND Big Organic jumping for joy. We can’t let corporate interests trump our rights.

Not only will their bill preempt Vermont’s GMO labeling law, due to take effect July 1, and prevent ANY state from EVER regulating or labeling GMOs, but their bill is full loopholes, exemptions, and a patchwork quilt of rules so vague and ambiguous that it’s quite possible that 98% or more of the GMO foods now on the market in the U.S. wouldn’t even have to be labeled!

WHY IS THIS BILL SO BAD? Here’s what you need to know:

  • The bill preempts Vermont, Connecticut, Maine and Alaska’s GMO labeling laws and prevents any other states from passing similar legislation.
  • The bill creates a new definition of GMO, excluding most of the genetically engineered foods currently on the market and new technologies such as CRISPR/cas9, gene editing and gene cassettes.
  • The bill provides for a patchwork of labeling options — QR codes, phone numbers, and symbols yet to be created by the USDA — and would result in consumer confusion.
  • The standard for non-GMO is not clearly defined and an acceptable level of GMO contamination has not been determined, leaving this open to the corrupt USDA to decide.
  • There are no penalties for non-compliance.
  • The bill would not take effect for two years.

And for the handful of GMO foods that actually will be required to be labeled? Well, good luck finding out what’s in those. The bill would FORCE YOU to scan a QR code, call a toll free number or search for some cryptic symbol yet to be defined just to get the information you want and need. And you’ll have to wait two years for it.

For many years we’ve been told that labeling GMOs would be costly and result in increased food prices. Many Big Food companies have already begun labeling in anticipation of Vermont’s pending law and all have announced that they won’t be increasing prices. Here we have an industry that whines about the cost of ink to print 4 simple words but is willing to install expensive QR scanners and land lines in every food store in the country. Who’s going to foot the bill for this elaborate, unnecessary, and unwanted technology? …the consumer, of course!


90% of Americans demand a simple label like this:

“Produced with genetic engineering”

It’s not a warning, it’s a simple disclosure about how your food was made.

If Big Food and Big Ag fear food transparency and consumer choice, they should have thought twice 20 years ago about corrupting our government in order to sneak GMOs into the food supply without our knowledge.


We hear that the Senate may bring the DARK Act up for a vote as soon as Wednesday, or as late as Friday this week. The vote on this monumental disaster of a bill is expected to be very close, with a margin of only one or two votes. Together, we can beat these corporate interests and take back our democracy. Take action today and every day this week. Rise up and make your voice heard!

Call, email, tweet at and post on the Facebook pages of this targeted list of Senators, below. And then ask your family and friends to do the same. Stay tuned for daily action alerts.


Sample message:

“Dear Senator _______,

I’m calling to demand that you respect Vermont’s right to self-govern and leave Vermont’s GMO labeling law alone. Do not preempt Vermont’s law to benefit corporate interests. The corporate interests, even those within the organic industry, that endorsed the Roberts/Stabenow GMO labeling bill, do NOT represent my personal interests, nor do they represent the interests of America’s grassroots. Thanks to the Vermont law, the simply worded GMO labels that Americans demand are showing up on food packages across the nation. I am urging you to represent your constituents and vote against the Roberts/Stabenow bill.”

Then post this billboard photo (credit: Food Democracy Now!) on their Facebook pages to put them on notice as to what they can expect if they sell you down the river for a few campaign contributions:


Michael Bennet D-CO
FB: https://www.facebook.com/senatorbennet
Twitter: @SenBennetCO

Amy Klobuchar D-MN
FB: https://www.facebook.com/amyklobuchar
Twitter: @amyklobuchar

Al Franken D-MN
FB: https://www.facebook.com/Sen.Franken
Twitter: @alfranken

Dean Heller R-NV
FB: https://www.facebook.com/SenDeanHeller
Twitter: @SenDeanHeller

Robert Menendez D-NJ
FB: https://www.facebook.com/MenendezForNJ
Twitter: @MenendezForNJ

Chuck Grassley R-IA
FB: https://www.facebook.com/grassley
Twitter: @grassley



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