by Omri Ben-Shahar, professor at the University of Chicago Law School
As more states pass mandatory GMO labeling laws, Congress has been trying to take action to unify the potpourri of local statutes. Sensing that the populist tide for labeling is sweeping through many states, the House passed in 2015 the Republican-led Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, only to see the Senate (mostly Democrats) voting to defeat a similar bill by a 49:48 vote.
Opponents to Congress’ bill, led by Vermont Senators Bernie Sanders and Pat Leahy, denounce the proposed federal legislation as the “DARK Act”—Deny Americans the Right to Know. The bill, they correctly say, would block state’s efforts to mandate labeling, replacing them instead with a meek regime of voluntary labels. Rather than enact a bill that reeks from industry meddling, opponents want Congress to step aside, thus leaving in tact the first-in-the-nation Vermont law that, starting July 2016, would require GMO foods to be conspicuously labeled.
Subterfuge on both sides