On July 29, President Obama signed bill S.764 into law, dealing a major blow to the movement to require GMO labeling. The new law, which food safety groups call the "Deny Americans the Right to Know" (DARK) Act, has at least three key parts that undermine Vermont's popular GMO labeling bill and make it nearly impossible for Americans to know what's in their food. The law claims to set a federal labeling standard by requiring food producers to include either a QR barcode that can be scanned with a phone, or a 1-800 number that consumers can call to find out whether a product contains genetically modified ingredients. But according to the Institute for Responsible Technology, this bill doesn't require most processed foods to have a label, defines genetic engineering so narrowly most GMOs on the market don't qualify, and gives the USDA two more years to come up with "additional criteria"—also known as "loopholes." This is disappointing for American consumers who honestly just want to know what their food contains, but the issue surrounding GMOs isn't just about what these companies are putting into our food and stocking our stores with. What's potentially more devastating for the planet is that genetically modified organisms developed by companies like Monsanto and DuPont can escape into our ecosystems and potentially wreak havoc before they are even tested or approved as safe. That's not wild-eyed conspiracy theory or speculation; it's a matter of fact.
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