Urging Congress to oppose the DARK Act

July 22, 2015

Dear Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader McCarthy, Minority Leader Pelosi and Minority Whip Hoyer:

We, the undersigned organizations and food companies, strongly oppose H.R. 1599 as it would prohibit any current or future state law requiring the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods while at the same time dramatically undercut federal, state and local government oversight and regulation of GE crops and foods.

Nine out of ten Americans want the right to know whether their food is genetically engineered. Three states have passed laws intended to give consumers the right to know what is in their food and over thirty states have considered similar measures just in the last three years. Rather than establish a national mandatory labeling standard, the so-called Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (H.R. 1599) would preempt state labeling laws while at the same time bar the Food and Drug Administration from establishing a national standard.

H.R. 1599 would also dramatically preempt any state or local oversight of GE crops intended to safeguard farmers, communities and the environment, even when the federal government has declined or failed to regulate them. Estimates indicate that H.R. 1599 could negate well over 130 existing statutes, regulations, and ordinances in 43 states at the state and municipal level. This sweeping preemption could nullify local farming regulations, seed purity laws and laws intended to prevent the spread of invasive species. The bill also severely weakens already feeble federal regulation of GE crops at USDA and FDA, and would create a regulatory loophole that could allow GE crops to evade any premarket approval or regulation.

Lastly, H.R. 1599 would allow companies to continue to make “natural” claims on foods that contain GE and other unnatural ingredients while also prohibiting states from defining or limiting what foods can be labeled as natural.

Therefore, we strongly urge you to oppose H.R. 1599.

Respectfully submitted,

Organizations:
Acequia Institute
Action Aid USA
Alaska Trollers Association
AllergyKids Foundation
Alliance for Natural Health USA

Alliance for Sustainability
American Grassfed Association
As You Sow
Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake Counties Farmers Union
Beyond Pesticides
Breast Cancer Fund
Center for Biological Diversity

Center for Environmental Health
Center for Food Safety
Center for Media and Democracy

Community Alliance for Global Justice
Community Farm Alliance (Kentucky)
Community to Community Development
Consumer Federation of America
Consumers Union
Cornucopia Institute
Dakota Resource Council
Dakota Rural Action
Earth Open Source
Earthjustice
Ecological Farming Association

Ecumenical Ecojustice Network
Environmental Working Group
Family Farm Defenders
Farm Aid
Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance

Farms not Arms
Farmworker Association of Florida
Food & Water Watch
Food Democracy Now!
Food First
Food Policy Action

Friends of the Earth US
Global Justice Ecology Project
GMO Free NJ
GMO Free NY
GMO Free PA
GMO Free USA
Green America
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Institute for Social Ecology
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
Just Label It
Labelgmos.org
MA Right to Know GMOs

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association Mangrove Action Project
Maryknoll Sisters Eastern Region, USA
Midwest Environmental Justice Organization
Moms Across America
National Family Farm Coalition
National Organic Coalition
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
Non-GMO Project
Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance

Northeast Organic Farming Association – Connecticut
Northeast Organic Farming Association – Interstate Council
Northeast Organic Farming Association – Massachusetts
Northeast Organic Farming Association – New Hampshire
Northeast Organic Farming Association – New Jersey
Northeast Organic Farming Association – New York
Northeast Organic Farming Association – Vermont
Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance
New York Public Interest Research Group (NY PIRG) Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association
Oregon Rural Action
Oregon Tilth
Organic & Non-GMO Report
Organic Consumers Association
Organic Farming Research Foundation
Organic Seed Alliance
Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association
Other Worlds
Pesticide Action Network North America
Powder River Basin Resource Council
Right to Know Minnesota
Rodale Institute
Rural Vermont
Sierra Club
Small Planet Institute
Soil Generation
Sustainable Food Center
The Rural Advancement Foundation International
U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) United Methodist Caretakers of God’s Creation
VT Right to Know GMOs Coalition
Washington Biotechnology Action Council Washington Sustainable Food & Farming Network Western Colorado Congress
Western Organization of Resource Councils

Companies:
2J’s Fresh Market
Amy’s Kitchen
Annie’s, Inc.
Applegate
Ashland Food Co-op
Bare Essentials Natural Market

Ben & Jerry’s
Bloom Naturally
Clif Bar & Company
Compass Natural
CROPP Cooperative | Organic Valley

Eden Foods
Equal Exchange
Good Boy Organics
Good Earth Natural Foods
Guido’s
Hain Celestial

Independent Natural Food Retailers Association LifeSource Natural Foods
Lundberg Family Farms
National Co+op Grocers
Nature’s Food Patch
Nature’s Path
Naturepedic
New Leaf Community Markets Nutiva, Inc.
Organically Grown Company
PCC Natural Markets
Planetary Health, Inc.
Presence Marketing
Real Food Company
Roughwood Seed Collection
Sterling-Rice Group
Stonyfield

Sustainability Associates, LLC
Uncle Matt’s Organic
United Natural Foods, Inc.
Wholesome Trade Corporation

Related Reading

USDA must conduct an EIS on GE wheat

Sign-on to petition asking the USDA to conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement on an application by Montsanto to release GE wheat. Includes addendum and associated documents.

No need for Roundup Ready GE alfalfa

Letter to the USDA detailing the flawed assumptions, judgments and conclusions of its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

Rep. Metcalf co-sponsors GE labeling bill

Thank you to Rep. Jack Metcalf, for co-sponsor of HR #3377, the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act.