D.A.R.K. Act or “Deny Americans the Right to Know” Act in Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry

The misleading name of H.R. 1599 is the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015” but it is commonly referred to as the D.A.R.K. Act, (Deny Americans the Right to Know Act). This bill has already passed in the House and is being heard at the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry on October 21, 2016.Watch 3 1/2 hours of recorded testimony here.

The DARK Act is designed to forever prohibit any state or federal labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods and weaken federal regulation of genetically modified foods (GMOs).

  • The DARK Act would rescind state GE food labeling laws already passed in VT, CT, ME and several municipalities and would prohibit new GE Labeling laws under consideration in RI, MA and NY.
  • The DARK Act would prevent the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from establishing a national mandatory labeling standard or allowing voluntary labeling of GE foods.
  • The FDA already requires labeling of over 3,000 ingredients, additives and processes. GE food labeling should be no different.
  • 64 countries around the world require GE foods to be labeled. Many American products with GE ingredients sold in these countries are already labeled.

Tell your Senators what you think about the D.A.R.K. Act:


2015 Winter Moth Fall Tree Wrapping

wintermothmalefemalecaptioned1Winter moth is an invasive pest introduced into North America from Europe. With no natural enemies, the population is exploding. These caterpillars devastated Rhode Island trees this spring. The adult winter moths come out from late November through December. In late fall across Rhode Island you may see small, dull gray moths attracted to porch lights in large numbers, especially on warm evenings. On some roads, you’ll see clouds of moths in headlights. These are all male moths. The females have tiny wings and cannot fly. Females emerge from the ground and scramble up nearby tree trunks where they will mate and lay eggs. When the caterpillars hatch in spring, they wriggle into swelling buds and begin feeding.

Trying to control male moths is useless; pesticide sprays will be a wasted effort and could harm other insects. It may be helpful to trap female moths with tree barriers to stop them as they climb up trees. At this time it is unknown how effective tree banding can be. It will depend on many things including how many trees are in an area and the size of the winter moth population. Tree banding will probably be most successful in yards with very few trees, no woods nearby and a moderate winter moth population.

tree banded in Nov. squareTree bands should be in place by mid-November. Tree bands can be homemade or purchased from a garden center. Commercial products include BugBarrier and Tree Wrap. BugBarrier can be purchased from Tree Shelter in Attleboro Falls, MA. Homemade bands can be made by spreading a sticky substance, such as Tree Tanglefoot to duct tape or plastic wrap attached to tree trunks.  Don’t coat tree trunks directly with Tanglefoot or any sticky substance.

Where there is a large population of winter moths, dead moths can completely cover the sticky surface and then female moths can easily walk over dead moths. It may be useful to have two tree bands per tree so you can monitor if female moths are climbing past the first barrier. If this happens, replace the failed barrier.

When a female moth encounters a tree band she tends to lay many eggs right below the tree band. For this reason, tree-banded tree trunks should be sprayed with a dormant oil next March to kill eggs laid on the trunk.

Heather Faubert will demonstrate setting up BugBarrier on October 27, 2015 at 3 p.m. at URI’s East Farm, 2150 Kingstown Rd., Kingston. East Farm is on Route 108, about 1/2 mile south of the Route 138/Route 108 intersection. A limited amount of BugBarrier will be available for participants. Please email Heather at hhf@uri.edu if you plan to attend.    RAIN OR SHINE!