H.R. 1599 (DARK ACT) passes by a vote of 275-150. The bill preempts state law requiring mandatory GE labeling, and would require premarket certification from the FDA.

thumb_2_HR-1599-Dark-Act-600The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Dark Act last week by a vote of 275-150. The Dark act is also referred to as H.R. 1599, (Safe and Accurate Labeling Act of 2015), was co-sponsored by House Representatives Mike Pompeo and G.K. Butterfield. The bill preempts state law rather than allowing communities to implement their own ordinances and regulations to protect their own constituents. The bill would allow companies to voluntarily and specifies the following:

“This bill amends the Federal , Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require the developer of a bioengineered intended as to submit a premarket biotechnology notification to the and Drug Administration (FDA). A “bioengineered ” (commonly called a “genetically modified ” or “GMO”) is a plant or part of a plant that has been modified through recombinant DNA techniques in a way that could not be obtained using conventional breeding techniques.

The premarket notification must include the developer’s determination that from, containing, or consisting of the GMO () is as safe as a comparable non-. For the GMO to be sold as , the FDA must not object to the developer’s determination. If the FDA determines that there is a material difference between a and a comparable non-, the FDA can specify labeling that informs consumers of the difference.

A can only claim that a is non-GMO if the ingredients are subject to certain supply chain process controls. No can suggest that non-GMO foods are safer than GMO foods. A can be labeled as non-GMO even if it is produced with a GMO processing aid or enzyme or derived from fed GMO feed or given GMO drugs.

The FDA must allow, but not require, to be labeled as GMO. The FDA must regulate the use of “natural” on .”

The bill would have an impact on state efforts to mandate genetic of products, including the current Vermont state law which was the first in the nation to pass a GE labeling law and then survive a federal court challenge from the . It will go into effect on July 1st 2016. California and Washington are other states that have consistently attempted to pass voter lead GE initiatives. A recent study by Consumer Reports National Research Center has revealed that Americans generally do want GEs in their , and 92% of consumers believe that foods containing genetically engineered ingredients should be labeled. The FDA has a history of confusing consumers with their “natural” labeling requirements.


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