Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) introduced a bill last week that attempts to permanently strike down Vermont's first-in-the-nation GMO labeling law, set to take effect in just 4 short months. This despicable bill is a direct attack on Vermonters' right to simple, factual information about the food we eat and feed our families.
Roberts' Senate version of the so-called DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act is perhaps even more egregious than the House version, which passed in 2015. Roberts' bill contains an outrageous provision that turns USDA into a cheerleader for the biotech industry by requiring the Secretary to "educate consumers" about the benefits of biotechnology. Furthermore, Roberts' bill would preempt not only Vermont's GMO food labeling law, but our labeling law for GMO seeds, which has been in place since 2004.
On Tuesday, March 1st the Senate Agriculture Committee reviewed and passed the bill by a margin of 14-6, and Roberts will now attempt to get the bill on the floor for a vote. Thankfully, our Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy have been and continue to be vehement champions for your right to know. Senator Leahy told the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday, "I will continue to oppose any bill that takes away the rights of Vermont, or any other state, to legislate in a way that advances public health and food safety, informs consumers about potential environmental effects, avoids consumer confusion, and protects religious traditions. We should be moving in a direction that offers consumers more information and more choices -- not less information and fewer choices." Read the Senator's full statement.