The U.S. Senate could vote as soon as Wednesday on its version of the DARK Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives last summer. The DARK Act is the name consumer groups, including Consumer Reports, gave to the bill because it would "Deny Americans the Right to Know" about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their food.

The vote comes just months before Vermont's mandatory GMO labeling law takes effect in July. If the bill passes, states would be prohibited from enacting their own GMO labeling laws and Vermont’s new law would be null and void. 

The Senate's version of the bill—backed by major food producers such as Kellogg and General Mills, as well as biotech companies like Monsanto, Dow Chemical, and DuPont—proposes a voluntary GMO labeling program. Labeling would become mandatory only if less than 70 percent of packaged foods are not in “substantial participation” with voluntary GMO labeling after three years.

“This legislation is a true compromise,” said Senator Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture said in a press release. “I have worked with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to find a balance between consumers’ right to know and ensuring an even playing field in the marketplace.”

But consumer groups, including Consumer Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports disagree. Today Consumers Union sent a letter to senators urging them to vote no on the bill.

“The DARK Act will stop state laws that have already passed without meaningfully replacing them,” says Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives for Consumers Union. “And there’s little likelihood that this bill will result in GMO labeling in the way consumers think of it and the way numerous surveys show that they want it: on the package.” Manufacturers would be able to disclose information on GMO ingredients in other less visible ways, for example through scannable codes, websites, or customer service call centers. “Consumers just want to know what’s in their food,” Halloran says. “Manufacturers and Congress shouldn’t make them jump through hoops to get that information.”

If you support GMO labeling, now is the time to alert your senators. We make it easy by providing a form that lets you send your message instantly.