Quantcast

Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp: Help Us Stop the DARK Act

Food

Dave Matthews, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young are speaking out against the controversial Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (H.R. 1599), also known as the Deny Americans the Right to Know, or DARK Act.

The legislation would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate the distribution and labeling of genetically modified foods (GMOs), thus preempting states' rights to label GMOs themselves.

Dave Matthews, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young join the overwhelming margin of American voters who say consumers should have the right to know if their food is genetically modified. Photo credit: Farm Aid

The famous musicians, who serve as board members of Farm Aid, signed a joint letter calling on President Obama to stop the DARK Act rider, which some lawmakers in Congress are trying to sneak onto to the year-end omnibus spending bill.

"Giant food, chemical and biotech corporations have spent millions of dollars to block our right to know what's in our food. Their latest effort is to pass what's been called the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act," Farm Aid wrote on a Facebook post last Friday. "It would preempt GMO labeling laws already passed in Connecticut, Maine and Vermont and obstruct mandatory federal labeling of GMOs."

In their joint letter, Matthews, Nelson, Mellencamp and Young bring up the "clear public support for labeling and transparency in the food system." According to Just Label It, 89 percent of American voters are in support of mandatory GMO labeling.

Additionally, the letter states, "That same right is already held by citizens in 64 countries and it is a right that we, as board members of Farm Aid, have fought to attain for some time."

Farm Aid is a nonprofit organization that organizes its famous annual benefit concert to raise money for family farmers in the U.S. Nelson, Young and Mellencamp organized the first Farm Aid concert on Sept. 22, 1985, in Champaign, Illinois. Matthews joined the Farm Aid board of directors in 2001. The 30th anniversary of Farm Aid was held on Sept. 19, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. To date, Farm Aid has raised $48 million for the country's family farmers.

"This is an issue that matters dearly to farmers and eaters alike," the letter continues. "As citizens, we believe transparency is fundamental to our democracy and indispensable to a fair and competitive marketplace. It is unconscionable that the will of multinational corporations would trump something so essential to American life."

Introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas, H.R. 1599 passed the House of Representatives in July and currently languishes in the Senate.

As EcoWatch exclusively reported, powerful food and beverage organizations have heavily lobbied and spent eye-popping sums to fight state-by-state labeling mandates before Vermont’s precedent-setting GMO labeling law takes effect in July 2016.

Unless it's stopped by a federal ban, Vermont's law will have far-reaching implications for the labeling of GMO food products in the U.S. For instance, once (or if) Vermont's law kicks off, it will trigger Connecticut's and Maine's own GMO labeling mandates.

"The White House has a critical role in shaping the outcome of this rider," the letter concludes. "There is no room for corporate riders like this in the omnibus appropriations bill and we urge you to stand up for what Americans want."

Read the full signed letter below. Those interested in joining the rockers' cause can visit this link.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Monsanto to Be Put on Trial for ‘Crimes Against Nature and Humanity’

3 Ways Monsanto Contributes to Climate Chaos and World Hunger

Erin Brockovich: The Biotech Industry is Jeopardizing Our Health

Mark Ruffalo: ‘Monsanto Chief is Horrible’

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Justin Trudeau delivers remarks during an election rally in Markham, Ontario, Canada, on Sept. 15. Creative Touch Imaging Ltd. / NurPhoto via Getty Images

By Chloe Farand for Climate Home News

Canadians are voting on Monday in an election observers say will define the country's climate future.

Read More Show Less
Activists Greta Thunberg (2ndL), Iris Duquesne(C), and Alexandria Villaseñor (3rd R) attend a press conference where 16 children present their official human rights complaint on the climate crisis to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child at the UNICEF Building on Sept. 23 in NYC. KENA BETANCUR / AFP / Getty Images

By Jessica Taft

Fifteen kids from a dozen countries, including Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, recently brought a formal complaint to the United Nations. They're arguing that climate change violates children's rights as guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a global agreement.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Cleanup costs for abandoned oil and gas wells once the producers have moved on could fall heavily on the public.
Susan Vineyard / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Justin Mikulka

Increasingly, U.S. shale firms appear unable to pay back investors for the money borrowed to fuel the last decade of the fracking boom. In a similar vein, those companies also seem poised to stiff the public on cleanup costs for abandoned oil and gas wells once the producers have moved on.

Read More Show Less
Blue tarps given out by FEMA cover several roofs two years after Hurricane Maria affected the island in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sept. 18. RICARDO ARDUENGO / AFP / Getty Images

Top officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development confirmed to lawmakers last week that they knowingly — and illegally — stalled hurricane aid to Puerto Rico.

Read More Show Less
Actress Jane Fonda (C) and actor Sam Waterston (L) participate in a protest in front of the U.S. Capitol during a "Fire Drill Fridays" climate change protest and rally on Capitol Hill, Oct. 18. Mark Wilson / Getty Images News

It appears Jane Fonda is good for her word. The actress and political activist said she would hold demonstrations on Capitol Hill every Friday through January to demand action on the climate crisis. Sure enough, Fonda was arrested for demonstrating a second Friday in a row Oct. 18, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Only this time, her Grace and Frankie co-star Sam Waterston joined her.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Visitors look at the Aletsch glacier above Bettmeralp, in the Swiss Alps, on Oct. 1. The mighty Aletsch — the largest glacier in the Alps — could completely disappear by the end of this century if nothing is done to rein in climate change, a study showed on Sept. 12. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP via Getty Images

Switzerland's two Green parties made historic gains in the country's parliamentary elections Sunday, according to projections based on preliminary results reported by The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
A mural in Richwood, West Virginia, a once booming Appalachia coal town, honors the community's history. Jeff Greenberg / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

By Jeff Turrentine

The coal industry is dying. But we can't allow the communities that have been dependent on coal to die along with it.

Read More Show Less
ThitareeSarmkasat / iStock / Getty Images

by Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Every fruit lover has their go-to favorites. Bananas, apples, and melons are popular choices worldwide and can be purchased almost anywhere.

Read More Show Less