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Initiative Seeks GMO Food Labels In Washington State

How would you vote on labeling genetically engineered food?

You might have seen petitions about genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, circulating at your local grocery store in recent months. Now, some 350,000 signatures have been submitted to Washington state seeking food labeling for genetically engineered foods.

The FDA is currently by its critics.

The sponsor of Initiative 522, Chris McManus, on Thursday submitted well more than the required 241,153 signatures of registered state voters.

The measure would require any food sold in Washington state and made with genetically engineered crops to be labeled.

This comes two months after California voters rejected a similar measure that pitted food safety advocates against agricultural and biotechnology giants in a roughly $55 million advertising battle.

According to the Washington Secretary of State’s Office, here’s what’s next:

It will go first to lawmakers, who begin their 105-day regular session on Jan. 14. Legislators have three options for each initiative: pass it into law as is, let it go to the November ballot for a public vote, or send it and a legislative alternative to the ballot and let voters decide which, if either, they want to support. The typical initiative to the Legislature takes the second path, going on to the General Election ballot. One or both houses may hold public hearings.

You can read the full initiative text here or click on the PDF attached to this story.

What do you think of the measure? Should Washington state label genetically modified foods? Tell us why in the comments.

Richard Morris January 09, 2013 at 06:31 PM
I watched the California proposition closely and was stunned that it went down to defeat. Curious to see if Washingtonians will demonstrate more concern with the health issues that surround GMOs. I could keep driving my car when the tire tread gets low and maybe never have a problem, but I know the potential exists for trouble given the right circumstances. I don't think we need proof that GMOs directly cause health problems BEFORE we either ban them or, at least, list them on product labels. The burden of proof (long term, thorough testing) should be on the chemical companies. The tests the FDA accepted were neither long term nor thorough. Round-up resistance seeds/plants plays an unknown factor in food evolution. That is only one genetically modified topic - there are many more. And we are eating these concoctions in most everything we purchase. I'd like to know when products have GMOs and which don't. We and our children should not be their test subjects. Makes me disappointed and suspicious of the government agencies that are tasked with protecting our food source, safety and health.
Ian Liddle January 09, 2013 at 11:43 PM
I think I'd settle for a "Manipulated by Monsanto" label. Genetically modified organisms could very well bring huge social / health / environmental benefits, but the problem is that there is little trust in the process they pass through before ending on our plates. So is that indicative of an "industrial-food complex" problem, or a bigger problem in the way our government interacts with people and corporations?

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