GRASSROOTS ACTION: DARK ACT Updates

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Posted by Laura Hagen, HWFC Member-Owner.

GRASSROOTS ACTION IS POWERFUL! is a blog dedicated to American independently-owned, Member-Owned & operated, community food co-ops, their Member-Owners and families.

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UPDATE: Friday, July 8, 2016 6:00pm

The DARK Act passed in  the U S Congress late last night to a vote of 63 – 30 (with 7 abstentions). Both NYS Senators – Gillibrand and Schumer – voted “nay.”See here for the official Senate Roll Call vote.The Organic Consumers Association website states the following:

…The bill passed last night is intended to hide information (behind electronic codes) from consumers, not provide it—in plain English, on a label.

The bill passed last night is intended to exempt the vast majority of GMOs from even having to be hidden behind codes, much less labeled in plain sight.

The bill passed last night is voluntary—it contains no enforcement mechanism, no penalties for non-compliance.

The bill passed last night is an attack on democracy, an attack on states’ rights. It not only overturns Vermont’s carefully considered and fairly debated mandatory GMO labeling law, but as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) noted in his speech on the Senate floor, this bill overturns nearly 100 other state laws. (Sanders pushed hard to stop this bill).

The bill passed last night is a fraud, an affront to the nine out of 10 Americans who want what citizens in 64 countries already have—the basic right to know what’s in our food.

The 63 Senators who sided with (and took hundreds of millions of dollars from) Monsanto and Big Food, stole your right to know, and whatever shred of belief you might still have had in the democratic process.

But they did not steal your power to boycott any brand or company that refuses to label GMOs. They did not steal your determination to take back an unhealthy, toxic, corrupt corporate food and farming system…

…The Roberts-Stabenow bill will now go back to the U.S. House, which in July 2015 passed its own version of the DARK Act. If the House and Senate reach an agreement, Congress will vote on a bill to keep you in the dark. That bill will then land on President Obama’s desk…

Here is the text of the bill set for a vote in the US House of Representatives next week.

The Organic Trade Association (OTA), a lobbying organization of so-called “organic” companies and corporations, lobbied for this bill, in the best interests of Monsanto. The OTA has acted against the best interests of consumer who buy organic, families, American organic farmers, small family farms and organic producers, and community-owned American food co-ops. The companies which are members of the Organic Trade Association need to be held accountable by American consumers who value organic and who want GMO food accurately and clearly  labelled.

The Organic Trade Association includes many of the organic companies, brand names, and wholesalers with whom you are very familiar. Here is the list of members of the Organic Trade Association. You decide if you want your family food dollars to support any of these “organic” corporations.

Call some of these companies – whose food rests in your pantry and ‘fridge – before the US House vote next week, and hold them accountable. A boycott of some of these companies is one option consumers have to voice their outrage at this betrayal.

 

UPDATE: THURSDAY, JULY 7, 2016 9:10 am

CALL SENATORS GILLIBRAND AND SCHUMER TODAY, RIGHT NOW! IT IS NOT TOO LATE! TELL THEM WHY YOU ARE AGAINST THIS ACT. TELL THEM TO VOTE NO. ALSO, ASK HOW THEY PLAN TO VOTE.

BOTH VERMONT SENATORS CAME OUT PUBLICLY AGAINST THIS BILL AND SAID THEY WILL VOTE “NO.” NEW YORK SENATORS SHOULD DO THE SAME. RIGHT NOW THEY WILL NOT COMMIT TO STATING HOW THEY WILL VOTE.

NYS Senator Gillibrand’s office in D.C. told me this morning that the Senator voted “NO” against the cloture vote yesterday. (This is, she voted against cutting off debate and forcing a vote.)

NYS Senator’s Schumer’s office in D.C. told me this morning that the Senator voted “NO” (That is, he voted against cutting off debate and forcing a vote.)

UPDATE: WEDNESDAY, JULY 6, 2016 10:30PM

DARK ACT PASSES US SENATE WEDNESDAY WITH CLOTURE* VOTE

A Center for Food Safety Press Release dated today, states:

WASHINGTON— Today the Senate voted to deny one-third of Americans the right to know what is in in the food products they purchase. In a cloture vote of 65-32 the discriminatory, highly-flawed “compromise” GMO labeling bill offered by Senators Stabenow and Roberts, also known as the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act, passed through the Senate. This “compromise” bill allows producers to use QR codes and “smart labels” instead of clear, on-package labeling of food products that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The poorly drafted bill exempts major portions of current and future GMO foods from labeling and is discriminatory against low-income, rural, minorities and elderly populations. The bill as written is also a gross violation of the sovereignty of numerous states, as it preempts the genetically engineered food labeling laws in Vermont, Connecticut, Maine and Alaska…

The High Plains /Midwest AG Journal article Senate Passes GMO Cloture Vote, dated Wednesday, July 6, 2016 at 5:38 pm stated: “Senate will vote on final passage as early as July 7.

Both NYS Senators’ – Schumer and Gillibrand – websites are silent as to how they voted on the Dark Act cloture vote. Please post below, if you have an update.

See the Senate Democrat and Republican Conference websites for information about the Cloture vote and the final vote, possibly tomorrow, Thursday, July 7, 2016.

*What’s a “cloture vote?” “Cloture is a procedure used occasionally in the U.S. Senate to break a filibuster. Cloture, or Rule 22, is the only formal procedure in Senate parliamentary rules, in fact, that can force an end to the stalling tactic. It allows the Senate to limit consideration of a pending matter to 30 additional hours of debate.” See http://uspolitics.about.com/od/glossary/a/Cloture-Definition.htm .

 

UPDATE: Wednesday, July 6, 2016 9:00PM: No results as to the US Senate Vote yet. PLEASE CALL NY SENATOR SCHUMER’S AND SENATOR GILLIBRAND’S OFFICES TOMORROW AND TELL THEM TO VOTE “NO” AND TELL THEM WHY YOUR FAMILY DOES NOT WANT NOR SUPPORT THE ‘DARK ACT.’

Senator Schumer (202) 224-6542

Senator Gillibrand (202) 224-4451

In the meantime, read this June 29, 2016 article at HuffPo by Carey Gillam, Research Director for U.S. Right to Know, a non-profit consumer education group, At ‘Crucial Moment’ For GMO Labeling, Organic Industry Finds Itself Divided.

Read Carey Gillam’s June 27, 2016 article at U.S. Right to KnowFor GMO Labeling Advocates, It Doesn’t Get Much Darker Than This.

And see this Wednesday, July 6, 2016 NY Times editorial, A Flawed Approach to Labeling Genetically Modified Food.

Finally, we were all let to believe that GMO foods were necessary because they would increase food yields. A national report has put that myth to bed.

U.S. Right To Know informs us: “A May 2016 report by the National Academy of Sciences found no evidence that GMO crops had changed the rate of increase in yields, and no clear benefits for small, impoverished farms in developing countries.”

 

UPDATE: Tuesday, July 5, 2016 at 6:00PM: An advocate (thanks JS) from HWFC just let our list know she has spoken with the Environmental Working Group. “THEY SAY SCHUMER IS POSSIBLY GOING TO VOTE FOR THE BILL… (the DARK Act)…”

Please call Senator Schumer’s Office and tell him to vote “no.” Tell him why. Tell him the Organic Trade Association, which is supporting this bill, does NOT speak for you and your family.

Flood Senator Schumer’s Office with calls. We need large numbers from the Albany area calling his D.C. office.

Does anyone have a newer update from Senator Gillibrand’s office?

I was told it is more effective to call their D.C. offices. Here are the numbers:

Senator Schumer (202) 224-6542 (9-6PM and you CANNOT leave a message)

Senator Gillibrand (202) 224-4451

Please post any updates, below.

Here is the text of the bill (thanks MR, another HWFC advocate). It just made it out of committee (Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry) and doesn’t have an S number yet. History of bill: (S. 2609 via amendment #3450 to S. 764)

http://www.agriculture.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Ag%20biotech%20compromise%20proposal.pdf

Folks, please read the text of this bill …and make your Senate phone calls today and tomorrow morning. Call friends & family around the US and have THEM call THEIR Senators today and tomorrow morning to vote “no” to the Dark Act.

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3 thoughts on “GRASSROOTS ACTION: DARK ACT Updates

  1. Susan Longtin

    Wonderful research, Laura. Now, I don’t use most of the stuff because I don’t really buy brands of anything, but everybody buys “Alberts Organics” who shops at the Co-op.

    Like

  2. Susan Longtin

    Laura, I really miss your “blog,” if that’s what you called it. Love your writing.
    Also, I pull out lots of bind weed every time I wait for the bus. There’s a huge lot on the Watervleit Ave side of the bldg.!

    Like

    1. Laura

      Dear Sue,

      Thank you! Appreciate your loyal readership… And, not to worry, my longish silence will be broken by a new post I’m currently workin’ on. Summer grabbed my time.

      Yikes, lesser bindweed has inched its way up a tall, cast iron plant hanger and is threatening to reach my front door! The stuff waits ’til your back is turned and grows a mile.

      Thank you, Sue, for protecting our co-op from a lesser bindweed takeover!!

      Like

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