Two years ago Vermont passed landmark legislation that gives consumers information about whether or not their food is produced with genetic engineering. This law was the result of years of debate and deliberation with over a hundred witnesses, 50 hours of testimony and over 30,000 comments in support from Vermonters. The law is set to go in to effect on July 1st and large corporate interests are pulling out all the stops to keep consumers from finding out what is in the food they eat and feed their families.
Our law is under attack by what is being dubbed the Deny Americans the Right to Know or DARK Act. This bill threatens not only Vermont’s GMO food and seed labeling laws, but it would codify our broken voluntary labeling system, and it seeks to stop any state or local government from passing GMO labeling laws. Just last week Senator Pat Roberts introduced a Senate Version of the DARK Act and is pushing for it to move quickly so that he can help corporate food manufacturers keep you in the dark about how your food was produced.
This is just one more example of how some in Washington put special interests ahead of the public interest and we need to let them know that we are paying attention.
Please take a minute to sign the letter below urging Senators to protect our right to know and respect Vermont’s right to inform our citizens about what is in our food.
To the United States Senate
We the undersigned Vermonters urge you to reject any proposal that would deny Vermonters the right to know if our food is produced with genetic engineering. Act 120, signed into law two years ago, was a landmark disclosure requirement for food produced with genetic engineering that was overwhelmingly supported by Vermonters. It was yet another example of how our small state can show transformative leadership on important issues. Act 120 is in keeping with Vermonters’ strong connection to the land and sustainable food systems, states’ rights to act as laboratories of democracy, religious liberty, and freedom of information in an open marketplace. It significantly advances our State’s important interests in public health, environmental protection, and preventing consumer confusion and deception.
Many of the industrial food and chemical companies are trying to undermine consumer-friendly transparency in the food system. However, companies successfully change their labels on a regular basis. Recently, Campbell’s Soup Company joined those others, showing that it is truly in the best interest of the public and the industry to provide consumers with the information they need.
We respectfully request that you resist the increasing pressure to compromise or effectively negate any state’s right to require factual, non-controversial information on food packaging or bulk containers. If a national standard is proposed, we would only be satisfied if it required mandatory labeling in clear and accurate language directly on the package, and is not reliant on voluntary disclosures, QR codes, smartphones, the internet, or any other means that would obstruct or otherwise infringe on the consumer’s right to immediately access information at the point of selection.
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