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Washington GMO Labeling Vote Now A Tight Race Thanks To Big Industry Money

I-522 GMOWashington state voters Tuesday could pass the nation’s first law requiring the labeling of genetically modified (GMO) foods, but if the latest survey is correct it could be a nail biter.

The proposal is called Initiative 522 (I-522), and although proponents of GMO labeling laws are massive in number, the pockets of biotech giants like Monsanto run deep. The battle over whether or not residents will soon be made aware of the food they are buying will likely rage on until the final ballots are counted.

The most recent poll, by the survey firm Elway, showed I-522 leading in October, 46-42. That’s a significant shift from just one month earlier, when I-522 led by a much larger 66-21 percent.

The difference? Ads by Monsanto and mega corporations appear to have changed some minds.

No on I-522 spokeswoman Dana Bieber said, “It’s obvious that the more people know about I-522 the less they like it. Voters are seeing through the proponent’s misleading initiative and misleading campaign.”

As previously reported by Off The Grid News, Monsanto – which produces GMO seeds — once supported labeling genetically modified food during an advertising campaign in Europe.

Yes on I-522 spokeswoman Elizabeth Larter said that while the GMO labeling initiative campaign has been outspent for many weeks now, I-522 is still winning in the state’s vote-by-mail election.

“Clearly, Washingtonians are embracing the right to know what’s in their groceries,” Larter added.

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The Grocery Manufacturers Association was pressured to reveal donations made in the Washington GMO labeling fight and has reportedly donated $7.5 million to opponents of the genetically modified food labeling initiative. Among that $7.5 million, PepsiCo donated $1.6 million to the “no” side, while Coca-Cola and Nestle each gave $1 million. Other prominent big donors trying to defeat I-522: General Mills ($600,000), Campbell Soup ($265,000), Hershey ($248,000) and Kellogg ($220,000).

The last-minute momentum change is reminiscent of the GMO labeling battle in California. Support was initially high for the genetically engineered food designation initiative – until biotech giants and food industry manufacturers got involved with TV ads. That 2012 initiative eventually lost.

Commercials and print ads opposing GMO labeling in Washington claim that the initiative is misleading and would drive up food prices – claims with the “yes” side strongly disagrees.

The Elway poll also noted that support for I-522 is highest among women, voters age 35 and younger, and among voters in the Seattle area.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson had to sue the Grocery Manufacturers Association in order to get them to release I-522 donation details. Ferguson believes the refusal to release the donations violated the state’s disclosure laws.

The attorney general also had this to say about the release of Washington GMO labeling campaign finance reports:

The people of Washington demand transparency. I’m pleased the GMA board recognized their responsibility to disclose the name of companies who contributed to opposing Initiative 522, and the amount of their contributions.

President Obama has been accused of reversing his position on the issue. During a campaign stop in Iowa, then Senator Barack Obama garnered massive applause from the crowd when he said that Americans have the right to know what is in our food. The lack of support for GMO labeling laws by the Obama administration leave many wondering if the plethora of former Monsanto executives in key positions as the USDA, FDA,and EPA have played a role in the president’s decision to disregard the campaign promise.

How do you feel about GMO labeling?

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5 comments

  1. timothy brandt MD

    There are two groups who are looking to get “GMO Labeling Rules” enacted:[a] the naïve TreeHugger types who apparently don’t realize that virtually all food produced in the US does in fact contain GMO material unless it specifically states that it is “GMO-free,” and [b] producers of GMO free products who want to cast a dark shadow on the other producers, giving themselves an undeserved, unfair marketing advantage.

    A “regulation” implies something must be wrong with GMO products. Keep in mind that there is ZERO credible evidence that GMO products are in any way deleterious to our health.

    It seems to me that a purveyor of a product with some advantageous characteristic should advertise that fact himself, not insist others without the characteristic be forced to advertise that they DON”T have it.

    • Christopher James Birch. Business owner

      I love it when MDs say things that show how uneducated they really are. Any idiot with internet access can easily find actual studies that prove most gmos are bad or learn of other countries that ban such things and why…

      An education really is an indoctrination into dogma and propaganda. Quoting science being truth is quite useless like saying there is zero evidence gmos are bad… when science not paid for by industry dollars says something totally different. I fear for such a doctors patients.

      Thank you Mr doctor for helping me and many others know why our healthcare system is broken.. and to never trust a doctor who thinks food is not medicine. Those they label as quacks may actually be telling the truth according to science.. not industry dollars. vote yes.

      Whats the real harm in knowing. Then according to the studies you chose to believe you can feed your family. This is honest. Classing people as a and b… is well.. i wont name call people can decide for themselves.

    • Dear Dr. Brandt, You are apparently unaware that GMO containing foods are saturated with toxic pesticides and herbicides, such as Roundup which is a breast carcinogen in PARTS PER TRILLION and an effective male contraceptive. I personally know several people who developed early cancer due to exposure to it. Are you retarded or just blind that you TRUST the company that brought us DDT and Agent Orange? Dr. Volpe

      • That seems to me like a pesticide problem. We definitely should be concerned about pesticides and herbicides and other nasty additives, synthetic and natural (they are equally dangerous to humans)

  2. I am neither a TreeHugger or food manufacturer. I am just a simple woman in her thirties who cares about her food.

    Voting yes means only labeling. Your opinion won’t have to change. You can still feed your family with products that according to you, with a ZERO evidence that it causes harm.

    Funny how doctors advertised cigarettes not even that long ago. The industry was then so powerful that people believed cigarettes are good for them because doctors advertised them.

    My question is, why only the companies who create and use GMOs are so against labeling? Shouldn’t they be proud of their product? How “awesome” it is? Most company proudly presents their logo on their products.

    Why are those super powerful chemical (not food) companies poor millions of dollars by trying to keep people in the dark? Why many other countries label or ban GMOs?

    Maybe because they have a policy which is “let’s not have it available until we surely prove that it is a 100% safe…” In the US it is the opposite. Let’s feed the masses with it, not even tell them that they eat it, until its proven to cause harm? Of course this way they make the largest profit too, these stuff are cheap.

    You really want to play that Russian roulette with your and your family’s life? Just tell me ONE GOOD REASON why not label it? There is none.

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