Will Washington be the first state to mandate GMO Labeling?
The state’s ballot initiative 522 is going to the people in November’s elections. The measure would require the labeling of genetically modified foods such as those containing corn and soy, and GMO salmon. Meat products from animals that were raised on non-GMO feed will be exempt though.
You may recall last year’s initiative in California, Proposition 37, which had strong consumer support in the months leading up to the elections. But, in the last few weeks before voters went to ballot, they were showered with advertisements paid for by GMO giant Monsanto and junk food companies, that scared people to believe that the labeling would increase food prices by hundreds of dollars per family. In the end, Prop 37 failed.
In what seems like a replay of last year, Monsanto has just written a check for over 4 million dollars to defeat I-522. But, the organizers and supporters of I-522 have learned the lessons of California, and are ready for the upcoming media onslaught aimed to defeat the proposal.
Here’s what the Washington team is doing differently:
1. Hiring political experts that have been doing campaigns professionally to run this effort.
2. Starting early with support from 700,000 individual donors to the campaign.
3. Working with industry in Washington to get support from economic forces. This includes fish and maritime businesses who don’t want GMO Salmon, Washington farmers, and Natural food companies.
Will this succeed? We’ll know soon enough. But even if the naysayers will prevail again in November, each initiative brings us closer to GMO labeling in the US.