Friday, February 15, 2013

Analysis of Washington State GMO Labeling Initiative I-522 « Biology Fortified, Inc.

Analysis of Washington State GMO Labeling Initiative I-522 « Biology Fortified, Inc.

Recently, supporters of the Washington State initiative I-522 submitted signatures to the Secretary of the State of Washington.  This initiative is designed to “establish mandatory labeling of foods produced through genetic engineering”. The official web site for the initiative support effort can be found at: ( ) and the initiative text can be found at: (I-522 Text ). The author of I-522, Chris McManus (Chris McManus), is an advertising executive from Tacoma, Washington.  When asked about technical details of the initiative, he reportedly replied “Well, you know, I’m not a scientist.  I work in media. Those kinds of questions I’ll have to defer to later in the campaign.”  (McManus Quote ).  One would think that addressing such issues might be an important consideration before signing the petition, however, the process has now moved beyond that point.

Pike Street MarketThe effort has strong support from the organic community, with the initiative itself having several sections devoted specifically to the promotion of organic production methods as well as the backing of large organic business and consumer interests such as Whole Foods Market Inc. (Wikipedia: Whole Foods Market & ), PCC Natural Markets, the largest certified organic coop in United States, (Wikipedia: PCC Natural Markets  &,  and the non-profit advocacy group, The Organic Consumers Association (Wikipedia: Organic Consumers Association & ).  Several other smaller businesses with interests in organic production have also committed to supporting the measure (see for example Labelitwa Supporters ).
Much of the initiative text is taken, sometimes verbatim, from the earlier 2012 initiative process in California, Proposition 37 .  While the similarity of the two initiatives is substantial, there are important differences.

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