Anti GMO labeling congress

SUBHEAD: Surprise! Congress members who voted  against GMO labeling got big bucks from agribusiness lobbyists.

By Nadia Prupis on 27 July 2015 for Common Dreams -

Image above: Republican US Congressman Mike Pompeo, from Kansas, was one of the two sponsors of the bill to ban states, counties and municipalities from requiring labeling of GMO laden ingredients in food. From (

File this under unsurprising, but nefarious nonetheless.

US Reps who voted against mandatory GMO labeling received three times as much money from food and agriculture lobbies

Members of U.S. Congress who vote against mandatory labeling for genetically modified (GMO) products receive three times as much funding from the food and agriculture lobbies as their colleagues, according to new reporting from Open Secrets, a project of the Center for Responsive Politics.

The political finance watchdog group found that the supporters of the anti-labeling bill which passed the House of Representatives last Thursday collectively received $29.9 million from the agribusiness lobby and food and beverage industry during the 2014 election cycle.

At 230 Republicans and 45 Democrats, that averages roughly $108,900 per member to support HR 1599—officially titled the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 but known by its opponents as the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act. HR 1599 passed with 275 to 150 votes.

Meanwhile, co-sponsors of the anti-labeling bill "received six-figure dollar amounts from providers of agricultural services and products...during the 2014 election cycle. That put them high among the top 20 recipients of funds from the industry," Open Secrets reports.

Among those lawmakers are Reps. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Mike Conaway (R-Texas), and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), most of whom also sit on the House Agriculture Committee.

As Common Dreams reported last Thursday, HR1599 "was backed by the food industry, including the Grocery Manufacturers Association and Monsanto Company, which have poured money into defeating GMO labeling initiatives."
Open Secrets continues:
Reps. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), two original sponsors of the legislation, were the top two current House members receiving the most money from the Grocery Manufacturers Association in 2014. The grocery manufacturers — who have spent $4.1 million lobbying on all issues so far this year, almost as much as they spent in all of 2014 — have lobbied on the bill more than any other organization, mentioning the measure on 14 lobbying reports this year.

After the Grocery Manufacturers Association, PepsiCo Inc ($2.5 million in overall lobbying this year) and Monsanto Co ($2.6 million) have mentioned the bill most frequently.

Image above: Democratic US Congressman George Butterfield, from North Carolina, was cosponsor of anti GMO labeling legislation. From (

Food and environmental activists called for the Senate to vote down HR 1599 when it reaches the chamber.

"Passage of this bill is an attempt by Monsanto and its agribusiness cronies to crush the democratic decision-making of tens of millions of Americans. Corporate influence has won and the voice of the people has been ignored," Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety, said last week.

Added Ronnie Cummins, international director of the Organic Consumers Association, "It’s time to hold every member of Congress accountable. Either they stand with Monsanto and Big Food in support of the DARK Act, or they stand with the overwhelming majority of their constituents for truthful labeling and consumer choice."

DARK not supported by Hawaii

SUBHEAD: Tulsi Gabbard and  Mark Takai voted against a bill that seeks to stop states from requiring companies to label genetically engineered food.

By Anita Hofschneider on 23 July 2015 for Civil Beat -

Image above: Democratic US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, from Hawaii, voted against DARK bill  not allowing labeling of GMO laden ingredients in food. From (

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Congressman Mark Takai voted against a bill that seeks to stop states from requiring companies to label genetically engineered food.

The measure introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo, a Republican from Kansas, passed the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday with a vote of 275-150. It goes next to the Senate.

The bill, HR 1599, is backed by the grocery and biotech industries and is known as the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. Because it would overturn state laws that require labels on food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs), opponents call it the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act.

Gabbard, who has been outspoken in her opposition to HR 1599 and co-sponsored HR 913 which would require federal mandatory GMO labeling, said in her floor speech that the measure “makes a mockery of transparency and leaves U.S. consumers in the dark.”

“What are they so afraid of?” she asked. “Why deprive Americans of the ability to make educated choices about whether they want food with genetically modified ingredients? Why make the labeling of such food just voluntary? Why not require it, as we require basic nutrition information on processed foods now?”

She discussed the local opposition to GMOs in Hawaii:
My state of Hawaii is the number one state for experimental Genetically Engineered plant field trials, according to the USDA. Many of my constituents are very concerned about these GE crop field testings because of the lack of information about these trials and the pesticides that are being applied to the fields.On the island of Kaua‘i in my district, residents organized and passed an ordinance requiring large agrichemical companies to disclose the pesticides they are spraying and observe buffer zones around schools, homes, and hospitals to prevent chemical spray drifts. The DARK Act could overrule the rights of local communities to make such decisions to protect their health and safety, and guide the growth of their agricultural industries.
A Civil Beat poll in April found that 65 percent of Hawaii voters support mandatory GMO labeling.
Takai also criticized the bill in a press release Thursday:

The bill I voted against today limits the ability of the Food and Drug Administration to require labeling of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) products, and effectively nullifies state laws in place today that regulate GMO foods. For nearly fifteen years, we have had voluntary labeling; however, standards differ and often lead to variances in the definition of natural and GMO products between states.

Clearly, this process must be improved. The consumers of our nation deserve to have clarity and be able to make their own decisions on the type of food they buy.Along with many of my colleagues, I support H.R. 913, the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act.

This legislation would create a national standard to label food products that derive from GMOs. In addition, this bill would harmonize U.S. policy with the 64 other countries that require the labeling of GMO foods.

This in turn, would make it easier for producers, processors, and packagers to comply with labeling requirements and would help in exporting our products around the world.”

Gabbard calls for GMO labeling

SUBHEAD: Each of us has a basic right to know what’s in our food. Now is the time to call for action.”

By Anita Hofschneider on15 May 2015 for Civil Beat -

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is calling for people to oppose a bill that would prohibit states or local governments from requiring mandatory labeling on genetically engineered food.

House Bill 4432 was introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo, a Republican from Kansas, and Gabbard said in a campaign email Tuesday that Congress could vote on it any day now.

“One of the best is our ability to grow our own food, and to do it in a way that’s sustainable,” said the Democrat representing Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district. “But our farmers and our communities are dealing with huge multi-national agribusiness corporations that keep their use of GMOs secret from consumers.

That’s just plain wrong. Each of us has a basic right to know what’s in our food. Now is the time to call for action.”

She linked to an online petition calling for mandatory GMO labeling that’s already garnered over 28,000 signatures, and threw in a link requesting campaign contributions at the bottom of the email.
In Gabbard’s district, which includes Kauai County, Maui County, the Big Island, and the rural parts of Oahu, GMOs are fairly unpopular.

Both Kauai and the Big Island passed regulations on GMO farming that were struck down in court. Last fall, Maui County voters approved a ballot initiative to temporarily ban GMO farming, but lawsuits from Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences have so far prevented the law from going into effect.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Congress sucks up to GMOs 7/24/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Europen Union approves RoundUp 7/15/25


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