Washington State Could Be First in Country to Pass GMO Labeling
It's been a few months since California residents voted down Prop. 37, the controversial initiative in last November's election that would have required labels on any genetically modified food sold in the state. Now Washington state, of recent gay marriage and pot legalization approval, might be the first in the country to pass legislation around labeling GMO foods. Yesterday, sponsors of WA Initiative 522 delivered 350,000 signatures supporting a GMO labeling law to the state Legislature -- more than a hundred thousand more than the state requires. If they're approved, the Legislature can vote on it or send it to the state ballot in November.
Flickr/Dodo-Bird Nearly 90% of corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified.
It'll be interesting to see how the fight shapes up around I-522, which would require genetically modified foods and seeds to be labeled as such beginning July 1, 2015. The battle over Prop. 37 in California took on David-and-Goliath proportions, with big agri-chemical companies like Monsanto putting up more than $55 million in negative, misleading advertising that many in the pro-labeling camp just felt they couldn't compete with (a post-campaign statement on the Yes on 37 group's website read, in part, "Dirty money and dirty tactics may have won this skirmish, but they will not win the war").
2013 could be the year the tide turns for genetically modified food labeling, however. Along with Washington, GMO labeling initiatives are also expected to be introduced to the ballot this year in Vermont and Connecticut, according to Nation of Change. If nothing else, all this talk is putting the issues surrounding genetically modified foods in the national spotlight -- which could eventually lead to policy-making in Washington D.C.