The GMO labelling movement in the U.S. has been dealt several blows, one over the failure to count 4,600 voters during the Oregon GMO labelling initiative, while a bill before the U.S. Congress dubbed ‘the Dark Act’ that may pre-empt states from enacting labelling laws was strongly criticised by the Organic Trade Association and the Environmental Working Group.
In the Oregon GMO food labelling ballot recount initiative, Judge Henry Kantor has rejected the Yes on 92 Campaign’s appeal to put a restraining order on the Secretary of State to prevent certification of the November 4 election. The Yes Campaign is currently discussing options following the judge’s decision, the Cornucopia Institute said in December.
With only an 812 vote difference (out of 1.5 million cast) favoring the NO side in the Oregon GMO food labeling initiative, a recount has gotten underway.
Monsanto and the Big Food opponents of Measure 92, the labeling initiative, are taking desperate measures to ensure the result doesn’t change. In at least four Oregon counties, the NO campaign attempted to place out-of-state election observers in the recount rooms as their representatives, a local newspaper reported.
“The action is a violation of Oregon state law which allows only state electors, or Oregon residents, to have the role,” the Cornucopia Institute said.
“In the latest development, the YES campaign is joining with several Oregon voters in a lawsuit concerning the failure to count 4,600 ballots in Multnomah county. The ballots are not being counted because election officials have said the signatures on the ballot envelope don’t match the signature on file for the voter, but Oregon state law does not require that the signatures match.”
The Environmental Working Group reported that a national labeling law for genetically engineered foods was the consensus of a majority of the members of Congress during a December 10, well-attended subcommittee hearing on the Food and Drug Administration’s role in regulating genetically modified food.
“The bill that was the focus of the hearing purports to provide for a national labeling system, but the fact is, it wouldn’t actually require labeling of genetically engineered foods (commonly called “GMOs”),” EWG said.
“In fact, what critics are calling the Deny Americans the Right to Know (Dark) Act would undercut meaningful efforts to label GMOs (Of course, that’s not the bill title used by its sponsor, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), or big food’s Grocery Manufacturers Association. They named the bill the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014.)”
“The reality is that the DARK Act would undo labeling laws that some states have already put on their books. But it goes further than that. The bill would actually make it harder for the FDA to require mandatory national labeling of GMOs.
“Instead, Pompeo and a handful of his colleagues are in favor of the current voluntary system, which has resulted in massive consumer confusion. As it stands now, the FDA allows companies to voluntarily label foods containing GMOs. The thing is, they don’t do it.”