March 26, 2015
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) has reintroduced his bill that would block federal and state efforts to require the labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Vermont, Maine, and Connecticut have passed laws requiring GMO labeling, and many more states are currently considering similar legislation. “Right to Know” GMO labeling ballot initiatives were narrowly defeated in Oregon and Colorado in the last election. As part of their labeling requirements, some states like Connecticut have also included provisions that make it illegal for food companies to label products containing GMOs as “natural.”
The 2015 Pompeo bill – dubbed the “Deny Americans’ Right to Know” or DARK Act by opponents and “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling” by supporters – continues the 2014 bill’s efforts to preempt state law requiring the labeling of GE food and regulating “natural” claims.
It would also prevent FDA from creating a national GMO labeling scheme – as proposed in the bill introduced by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in the Senate and by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) in the House. Instead it continues to rely on voluntary labeling schemes.
The bill would also establish a new, voluntary non-GMO labeling program at USDA.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee (which oversees the FDA) has primary jurisdiction over the bill, but with the new addition of the proposed voluntary USDA label, the House Agriculture Committee has now been given joint jurisdiction. It has thus been referred to both committees for review.
No further action has been scheduled at this time. Currently, there is no Senate companion bill.