Eyes on Washington State GMO Food Labeling Vote

October 1st, 2013

[An earlier version of this story appeared in Cornucopia's Fall newsletter]

I-522-fullAfter the narrow defeat last November of the statewide vote in California to require the labeling of foods containing genetically engineered ingredients, supporters of food transparency have brought the issue to numerous other states.

Connecticut and Maine have adopted GMO labeling laws, contingent on nearby states adopting a similar requirement.  In nearly twenty other states food activists are also pursuing similar legislative strategies.  And in Washington state, food activists are gearing up for a statewide vote this November 5 on GMO ingredient food labeling legislation.

Known as I-522, the pending state vote has been attracting considerable attention from industry observers.  Monsanto and other giant biotech corporations, along with the Grocery Manufacturers Association (a lobbying group for the nation’s biggest food manufacturers and retailers), have dumped $17 million into a PR campaign aimed at thwarting a pro-labeling vote.

But a vigorous and well-organized campaign has arisen in the state in favor of GMO food labeling and the right-to-know what is in your food. The Yes on 522 committee is one of several organizations actively engaging and educating the public on the upcoming vote.  A number of organic food and natural products manufacturers and retailers have also stepped up to help counter the financial might of the biotech and agribusiness companies.

Cornucopia has created infographics and detailed information revealing what companies support or oppose GMO food labeling.  By knowing where the makers of various food brands stand on the issue, knowledgeable consumers can match their marketplace food-purchasing decisions with their core values.

We are in the process of updating our infographic based on the latest reported campaign expenditures filed this week.  Check back in the near future for the latest details.

- Will Fantle

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