Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard criticized a bill Wednesday that would prevent states from mandating labels on food with genetically modified ingredients.

The Hawaii representative spoke at a press conference at the U.S. Congress to condemn the bill introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo, a Republican from Kansas. The measure seeks to overturn the mandatory GMO labeling laws in Vermont, Maine and Connecticut.

The bill is known as the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act but critics like Gabbard call it the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act.


Rep. Tulsi Gabbard criticizes a bill that would preempt states from mandating labels on GMO foods.

Courtesy of Tulsi Gabbard

Gabbard later sent out a press release along with seven Democrats including Reps. Peter DeFazio and Earl Blumenauer from Oregon, Nita Lowey from New York, Rosa DeLauro from Connecticut, Peter Welch from Vermont, Chellie Pingree from Maine and Ann McLane Kuster from New Hampshire.

In a statement, Gabbard said the measure takes away consumers’ rights and undermines local control.

“Almost 90% of the American people want to know what’s in their food,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “The DARK Act would roll back steps taken by a majority of states and counties, including communities in Hawaii, to better inform people about the ingredients in the food they eat… This bill is bad for transparency, consumer rights, and democracy, and should be defeated.”

A few hours after the press conference, Gabbard sent out an email to supporters asking them to sign a petition opposing the bill and soliciting campaign donations.

The appeal is likely to resonate with many voters in Gabbard’s district, which includes Kauai County, Maui County, the Big Island, and the rural parts of Oahu. All of the neighbor islands have sought to regulate GMO farming, but federal judges have ruled that they don’t have the authority to regulate agriculture.

Here’s an excerpt from her email:

I feel so grateful to call Hawai‘i home. Our beautiful state has bountiful resources, a year-round growing season, fertile soil, and our farmers grow delicious, sustainable food. I’ve even helped plant a bit of taro myself!But increasingly in Hawai‘i and across the country, people are learning more about the use of genetically engineered foods and the secretive practices of the huge multinational agribusiness corporations behind them, which keep consumers in the dark about what’s in their food. That’s just wrong.

Congress is considering a bill this week that would ban states from taking action to require GMO labeling. Opponents call it the DARK Act – Denying Americans the Right to Know – because it would keep American consumers in the DARK about what’s in their food.

We have to stop this disastrous bill that takes away the people’s voice and right to choose. Add your name today to tell Congress: Protect consumers and vote NO on the DARK Act!

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