MONTPELIER – President Obama nullified Vermont’s GMO labeling law on Friday by quietly signing a federal law nicknamed the “Dark Act.”
The new federal law lifted the requirement for food companies to mark their products with clear GMO labeling and essentially allowing the food industry to regulate itself.
Following President Obama’s signing of S.764, the Vermont Attorney General will no longer be allowed to enforce Act 120, Vermont’s first-in-the-nation law requiring the labeling of food produced with genetic engineering.
“We successfully defended our law for two years, and as a result, many companies are now disclosing that their products are produced with genetic engineering,” said Attorney General William H. Sorrell. “We hope they will continue to do so going forward, not because our law requires it, but because it is the right thing to do.”
Critics of the new federal law have dubbed it the “Dark Act,” standing for “Denying Americans Right to Know.”
The “Dark Act” establishes a “National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard,” which, among other things, could permit companies to provide a scannable code, only accessible with a smartphone, rather than a clear on-package disclosure.
“It is unfortunate that corporate interests were ultimately able to water down Vermont’s clear disclosure standard through the passage of this federal law,” said Sorrell.
Under the federal law, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has two years to draft regulations to implement the labeling standard.