Tester calls for increased transparency as DARK Act hits Senate floor

GMO bill blocks state laws and restricts access to information for Montana families

(U.S. Senate)-As the Senate today continued debating legislation that blocks transparency and undermines states’ rights, Jon Tester took to the Senate floor to fight for Montana consumers.

During a floor speech, Tester blasted the latest version of the DARK Act, which prevents the public from knowing if the food they buy contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and blocks state laws that require corporations to label GMO products.

“Transparency is everything. Transparency leads to accountability and gives power to Americans. It’s true when we talk about food, too. Free markets work when consumers have access to information,” said Tester. “But this bill does none of those things, it just keeps folks in the dark.”

The DARK Act allows corporations to voluntarily disclose if their food contains GMOs through the use of scannable barcodes, a website, or a 1-800 number.

“If you think this is labeling, if you think this is giving the consumer a right to know what’s in their food, you’re wrong. This is a game,” Tester continued. “The fact is if folks are so proud of these GMOs they should label them. Voluntary standards are no standards at all.”

Currently there are no federal requirements for companies using genetically engineered ingredients to disclose that information on food labels. Vermont, Maine and Connecticut have passed GMO labeling laws and sixty-four countries across the world require GMO labeling.

“China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia are not exactly transparent countries, but they require GMO labeling,” Tester added.

In 2013, Tester led the charge to remove the controversial “Monsanto Protection Act” rider from a funding bill that directed the U.S. Agriculture Department to ignore any court ruling blocking the planting of improperly approved GMOs.

Tester is sponsoring the Biotechnology Food Labeling Uniformity Act, which requires clear, on-package labeling of GMOs.

Tester’s floor speech can be downloaded HERE.