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GM Foods Labeling Law Battle Lost in WA State
Proponents greatly outspent by big food firms; voters in farming regions feared it
11/7/2013By Craig Weatherby
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Although thousands of votes remain uncounted, it looks like the Yes on I-522 campaign – to require labeling of GM foods sold in Washington State –has been defeated.
 
As of Thursday, the proposed law had about 46 percent of the vote, while about 54 percent of Washington residents had voted against the proposed law.
 
You can read about the campaign's future plans in The Seattle Times: see “Food-labeling supporters say fight is moving to statehouses”. 
 
To learn about the campaign and our stance on GM foods, read our July 29 article, below.
 

 
July 29, 2013
 
We reject genetically modified (GM) foods and support requirements to label them.

To learn more, see “Why we support labeling of GM foods”, below.

So we urge you to join us in supporting the Yes on 522 campaign in Washington State … home to Bellingham, our own coastal base.
 
(Vital Choice founder Randy Hartnell appeared in a TV ad for the campaign ... see “Vital Choice Founder in TV Ad for GM Food Labeling” and we supported it in other ways.)
 
Last April, the Washington State legislature allowed ballot Initiative 522 to appear on the November, 2013 ballot.

If a majority of voters vote in favor of Initiative 522, Washington State law would require labeling of foods products containing GM ingredients.

Initiative 522 is very similar to the ballot initiative rejected narrowly by California voters last November. (See “Help the Campaign to Force GM Food Labeling” in the Genetic Engineering & Modification section of our news archive.)

We think it's significant that Consumers Union endorses the Yes on 522 campaign as a reasonable measure to give consumers valuable information.

To learn more about ballot Initiative 522 and donate to the campaign to educate Washington State voters, visit the Yes on 522 website.

Why we support labeling of GM foods
U.S. regulations regarding approval of new GM food crops remain remarkably lax.

The GM crops approved to date have not undergone thorough study of their safety for consumers and the environment.

U.S regulations don’t even require safety testing of a new GM crop if a biotech firm asserts that it carries no human allergens and is “substantially identical” to its non-GM counterparts.

Absent those laws, we can’t possibly know the truth about the safety of any specific GM food product ... and animal test results often do not match what humans may experience.

Insertion of foreign genes into a crop creates complex, unknowable “ripple” effects in its genome (DNA).

Accordingly, it is currently impossible to ensure that GM crops match their non-GM counterparts in safety and nutrition terms.

The safety-related research on GM crops conducted to date – much of it done by the creators of GM crops – has often been poorly designed and inadequate to establish safety.

Sadly, many of the studies that seemed to show harm to animals have also been poorly designed and unreliable. For example, a recent French study that seemed to show GM crops causing cancer in rats has been called scientifically unsound by many independent scientists.

But evidence of possible harm does exist.

For example, we reported last month on a well-designed study that revealed clear damage to pigs fed GM crops … see “GM Feed Inflamed Animals’ Guts”.

And the practice of genetically modifying crops to resist the allegedly safer pesticide glyphosate (Roundup) has already begun to backfire (see “Monsanto's GM Herbicide Failing” and “GMO Critiques May Miss Another Danger”).

Resistance to Roundup is now appearing in weeds, and research is uncovering previously unsuspected, Roundup-related dangers to humans and crops.

Given the lingering safety concerns, consumers have the right to know which foods contain GM ingredients ... so please consider donating to the Washington State labeling-law campaign, via the Yes on 522 website
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