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The DARK Act: You Slayed It—For Now!

Thanks to your tremendous and relentless pressure, you defeated the DARK Act today.

Let’s hope it rests in peace. But if it doesn’t, we’re prepared, with your help, to engage in some fierce zombie slaying.

Not enough votes—yet

After all his posturing and bribing and coercing, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) didn’t have enough votes to pass S. 2609, or what we’ve all come to know as the DARK Act, the bill that would Deny Americans the Right to Know about GMOs.

This is an exciting preliminary victory. It’s your victory.

Thank you to everyone who called your Senators and donated to the fight for our right to know! Now it’s time to call those Senators who voted with us, and say thank you.  Please click here to see how your Senators voted and then call the Capitol switchboard at 1-202-224-3121.

Here’s a quick summary of the vote.

There were very few Democrats who voted for the DARK Act: Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.).

There were also a few Republicans who broke ranks: Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.)

If these DARK Act opponents stay strong, they can defeat this bill, and Vermont’s GMO labeling law will take effect on July 1.

Once Vermont’s law takes effect, our movement will snowball, passing laws across the country and forcing food companies to give every American our right to know about GMOs. We’ll finally have mandatory food labels requiring the words “produced with genetic engineering” to be printed on the package.

What compromise lurks?

Unfortunately, an uncompromising win is far from guaranteed. There is still the danger that pro-GMO Democrats will decide to stab us in the back.

Politico reports that Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) is floating an alternative to the DARK Act. While the text of the proposal has not been made available, reporter Jenny Hopkinson says Stabenow's sponsorship of the measure could provide” enough cover” for Democrats to vote to preempt state GMO labeling laws.

What exactly that “cover” looks like has yet to be revealed. Mandatory QR codes? Toll-free numbers? Whatever it is, you can bet it will preempt Vermont.

What’s next, and when?

After the vote on the DARK Act failed today, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) flipped his vote from yes to no. He’s on the DARK side for sure, but this was just a procedural maneuver that allows the Senate to bring an amended version of the DARK Act back into the realm of the “un-dead.”

How soon could the DARK Act be resurrected? As early as this week, or perhaps in two weeks, after the Senate returns from its recess.

We need to stay strong and unite around this message to the Senate:

1.    GMOs should be labeled ‘Produced with Genetic Engineering’ using words on the package. Anything less is unacceptable.
2.    QR codes, symbols and acronyms would hide information about GMOs from people who aren’t in the know. Any “solution” requiring a smart phone discriminates against people who don’t have smart phones.
3.    The people of Vermont shouldn’t have to wait for the food companies to voluntarily label GMOs or for the federal government to write regulations. Vermont’s GMO labeling law must be allowed to take effect on July 1.
4.    There are real concerns about the safety of GMOs, especially as more than 99 percent of the GMO crops grown in the world today are engineered to increase our exposure to pesticides like Monsanto’s Roundup, which the World Health Organization says is a probable carcinogen.

Meanwhile, we at OCA thank you for all of your hard work, and your tremendous financial support—support that has brought us to today’s victory.

It’s critical that we remain vigilant. And it’s important to reach out and thank those Senators who voted for consumers, not Monsanto, today. Please click here to see how your Senators voted and then call the Capitol switchboard at 1-202-224-3121.