Late Thursday afternoon, The Secretary of State’s Election Division finished the review of Initiative 522, and Secretary of State Kim Wyman signed the official certification. "The People's Right To Know Genetically Engineered Food Act" now moves to the legislature, which will do nothing, enact the initiative into law or modify it. Typically, lawmakers pass initiatives along to the public to vote on in the November election.
(Photo: Leslie Ann Stoddard GMO Free Idaho co-founder)
The grassroots campaign turned in 353,331 signatures. A random sample estimated 17 percent were invalid. Washington law required 241,153 valid signatures to qualify.
The initiative would require most raw agricultural commodities, processed foods, seeds and seed stocks to be labeled as genetically engineered when offered for retail sale.
Last year, California voters rejected a similar Label GMO Food propitiation after multi-billion dollar corporations spent more than $45.6 million on an October multimedia advertising campaign that shifted public opinion against the food labeling law.
Although a 2012 poll showed that 91 percent of Americans supported labeling GMO food, Prop 37 was defeated 51.5 to 47.5 percent.
“I-522 is about freedom of choice so we can decide what we feed our families and whether we want to buy and eat genetically engineered foods,” said Trudy Bialic, spokesperson for PCC Natural Markets.
The opposition to the GMO labeling law states that industry sponsored research has shown that the use of recombinant DNA techniques to modify foods has never shown that GMO foods are unsafe to animals or humans. They believe that labeling GMO food gives consumers no useful information. The four bullet points that they used successfully in their multimillion dollar 2012 California media blitz were:
- Deceptive Labeling Scheme
- Shakedown Lawsuits
- Higher Grocery Bills
- Prop. 37 Would Hurt California Farmers
Percy Schmeiser vs Monsanto: The Story of a Canadian Farmer's Fight to Defend the Rights of Farmers and the Future of Seeds
PERCY SCHMEISER: It started in 1998, when Monsanto laid what they call a patent infringement lawsuit against my wife and myself, and they charged us that we were growing their genetic altered, or GMO, canola, as we call it in Canada. And that was the beginning of it. And as GMOs were introduced in North America in 1996, so this was two years after the introduction.
AMY GOODMAN: Explain what a GMO is.
PERCY SCHMEISER: Genetic modified organisms. And what that really means is that they took a gene from another life form, put it into canola, which made it resistant to Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup.
AMY GOODMAN: And explain what canola is.
PERCY SCHMEISER: Canola is — well, here — in most parts of the world, we call it rapeseed. But canola is an oil-based crop, and primarily it is used for making cooking oil. And the meal from it, after it’s pressed, is good animal feed, both for cattle and for pigs.
AMY GOODMAN: And explain how it ended up on your property.
PERCY SCHMEISER: My neighbor had grown it in 1997, and the following year it had true cross-pollination. But at that time, we believe it was primarily the contamination came from seeds blown in the wind, transportation by the farmer to the market, to his field, and from his field to his granaries.