GMO Label Initiatives: 3 Things Washington is Doing Better than California Did

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.

If you want to know the GMO status of foods you are buying right now, download the premium Fooducate apps for Android and iPhone.

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  • Kirk Waldren

    Maybe I’m voting for this in my home state, maybe I’m not, but I’m sure not coming here to get my info. Since you’re not from Washington, it’s not surprising you got a few of the facts wrong in your post. Saying there were “700,000 individual donors” sounds great, but it’s not anywhere close to being true. Even a recent article from a very pro-labeling blog in Seattle had to get the facts straight with the campaign. The Yes side first tried to say they had 7,000 individual donors, facts didn’t back that up, so the reporter blindly accepted the campaign’s word that they really did have more than 5,000. That’s a far cry from 700,000. (http://www.seattlemet.com/news-and-profiles/publicola/articles/i-522-groups-kick-off-tv-ad-campaigns-september-2013)

  • Amanda

    What is the reason we would want them labeled? It just feels like a fear tactic from people who don’t understand how genetically modified food works. Everytime I ask this question no one ever has a good reason for me.

    • SeaKat

      Amanda, do you want to know how much salt is in your food, or maybe how many grams of fat or carbohydrates? If you have food allergies, wouldn’t you want to know if you food contains those allergens? It’s very simple, it’s called ‘truth in labeling’. As long as there is any hint there could be a problem we have the right to know. It’s called the precautionary principle, something the USA threw out the window.