Negative Labels and Living under the DARK Act.

Negative labeling - that is, labeling stating that a product does NOT contain genetically engineered food (or GMOs as commonly known) -- has been the subject of much confusion of late.  In August of this year the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) issued an updated directive in this regard.  To open this document which was updated August 19, 2016, click here.
Example of Negative Label 

This is a complex situation because while FSIS did not previously allow  "negative claims" (that is, claims that a product did not contain GMOs),  there was no effective enforcement mechanism for this and a number of products were simply labeled as GMO free with no consequences.

Private certifying entities such as the Non-GMO Project could function legally because words "Non-GMO" appeared on labels bearing their organizational name and made no other claims on food packages.

But now, at least according to the terms in the above document, FSIS  will allow "negative labeling" for certain categories of foods, all foods that are animal derived.  (meat, poultry and egg products not containing or derived from livestock fed GMO feed.)

An excellent analysis of this new FSIS directive has been prepared  by food reporter Maxwell Goldberg at his "Living Maxwell" website.   To download this analysis please click here.  This is a an important and confusing topic and this analysis is worth careful reading.
Note however that at this point it does not apply to plant-derived foods.

If you are interested in a broader general description (although dated) analysis of the work of the USDA Food Safety & Inspection Services (FSIS) in general, click here.

Continue to look for the Non-GMO Project Verified label and/or the USDA Organic label on your foods!

Now that the DARK Act will likely make it more difficult than ever to avoid NON-GMO foods, the Non-GMO Project offers help in the current issue of their newsletter:  "Living non-GMO -- THE BUTTERFLY: The Lifestyle Newsletter of the Non-GMO Project.  To see this issue please click here.   Or visit the Non-GMO Project website at

What Really Happened with the DARK Act?

The enactment of the DARK Act  (so called by its opponents because it would Deny Americans the Right to Know) was the product not only of plenty of money from industry, but also of major betrayal by groups that had appeared to be supportive of meaningful labeling of genetically engineered foods.

In fact, the DARK Act could be compared with a life-preserver bearing the words "Life Preserver" clearly written on the cover, but filled with lead that would drag the unlucky person depending on it  right to the bottom of the sea!

One of the clearest articles exposing the complex machinations employed by industry and false friends to foist the DARK Act upon us was published this week in The Cultivator, the quarterly newsletter of the Cornucopia Institute.

If you would like to read the Cornucopia Institute's excellent summary of the "story behind the story"of the DARK Act, click here. 

We urge readers to thank the Cornucopia Institute -- a small organization that punches way above it's weight and deserves your support!  Their "donate" button is front and center on their home page!

The President Signed the DARK Act into Law

July 30, 2016.   Yesterday was a difficult day for all of us who have worked so hard for mandatory, clear, on-package labeling of genetically engineered foods. 


The President signed S. 764 -- a sham labeling bill that will truly Deny Americans the Right to Know.   Among other things this cruel charade of a law will: 

 -- Prohibit state labeling legislation (including Vermont's that had was in the process of being enforced),

-- Allow companies to "label" genetically engineered foods by indirect means such as QR codes, telephone numbers, URLs or other devices that will force consumers to spend precious time and energy to learn what is in their foods,

-- Impose no penalties for non-compliance, giving industry a "Get Out of Jail Free" card for ignoring this law.

In addition, the DARK Act could exclude from labeling many foods that should be labeled - perhaps exempting most processed foods.

This is clearly a bad situation, but we need to keep on working!  

We know you may be disappointed and even exhausted.  You have been handing out leaflets, speaking to friends and associates, helping at public events, responding to action alerts from IRGKGMO and many other organizations, and doing all the things that need to be done to bring about change.  

We need to keep right on working, but now in a different arena!

We have already brought about change!  Have you noticed that more people know what GMO means?  Have you noticed that more and more people are looking for the Non-GMO Project label when they shop?  Have you noticed that several companies (even some of the biggest ones) now label?

We're not quitting!

In the coming weeks we will be working on more strategies to build public awareness. 
When we can convey the hazards to health, environment and food security in compelling ways, and as more and more people become aware of the outrageous behavior of industry in promoting this hazardous technology, we can achieve our goals.  

Do not give up!  

Now more than ever your ideas and your energy are important!   Get involved with Illinois Right to Know GMO and some other the other great organizations working to bring about change.  Support them with your funds and your action as you are able.  Both are important. 

The DARK Act is headed for the President's Desk

July 17, 2017, the DARK Act has been passed by Congress and is headed for the President's desk.  

White House Denies We the People Petition

On July 9 a "We the People Petition" was submitted to the White House asking the President to veto the DARK Act on the grounds that it discriminated on the basis of poverty, disability and on other grounds.   In a few days the petition and received more than the 100,000 names required to be considered by the White House.  The petition itself and the response from the White House may be read at:

The President signed this bill July 29, 2016.

Read here for more about this bill and the reactions thereto.

For more information about this bill, see Consumer's Union's letter in opposition.

Elizabeth Kucinich: What's Wrong with the DARK Act

Food and Agriculture Consultant Elizabeth Kucinich, wife of former U. S. Representative Dennis Kucinich discusses what is wrong with the DARK Act in this six minute video.
To watch, click here.

Welcome to Illinois Right to Know GMO!

This is our reconstituted website, and we hope you will find it useful. 
Because we are a small organization, and to save you time, we will not try to duplicate the  information found in other excellent websites listed elsewhere on these pages.

Instead, we urge you to become active with us through out Meetup Group, to like us on Facebook, to Follow us on Twitter and to visit us on Instagram at the addresses below. 

Some pages are still under construction but please get in touch with us by signing in at the right, or by writing to us directly at IRTKGMO[at]gmail[dot]com with your questions and comments. 

Mission Statement:

We are a grassroots organization committed to informing the public about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs; otherwise known as Genetically Engineered Food or GE Food), inspiring people to choose healthier foods and taking action to support mandatory labeling laws in Illinois.

Get involved:

Join us in person!  See our events and meetings and events of some other GMO-related events at: 

Like us or comment on Facebook here:

Follow us on Twitter @IRTKGMO or

Our handle is "ILRightToKnowGMO"

Write us directly at IRTKGMO[at]gmail[dot]com.