As a college student working in Washington, D.C., for the summer, I have found the city fast-paced, exhilarating and often downright depressing. Such disappointment comes on days like July 23, when the House passed the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act.

While this bill may sound like a move in the right direction for food labeling, it is anything but that. The bill creates a voluntary federal GMO labeling standard that will pre-empt state labeling laws and allow GMO-containing food to be labeled natural. In other words, the House has passed misleading legislation that bans states’ rights to create GMO labeling laws.

Maine, Connecticut and Vermont have successfully passed such laws, and there have been similar initiatives in more than 20 other states.

I am proud to have lived for three years in Maine, a state that has consistently passed progressive legislation to protect its residents’ safety and right-to-know. I also am proud to have Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, who fought against this bill, as my representative.

Unfortunately, Pingree’s vote and the opposition of 174 other representatives was not enough, and the bill that has been dubbed the Denying Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act has moved to the Senate, which is already working on similar legislation.

Regardless of anyone’s stance on the safety or efficacy of GMOs, the bill is an enormous step in the wrong direction. This is about the American public wanting to know what is in its food. Congress is denying this right, as well as the ability of states to make independent decisions. It is time for the federal government to support people’s right-to-know.

Samantha Lovell


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