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Initiative 522 – GMO Labeling: Get the Facts at the next General Meeting

Initiative 522 – GMO Labeling: Get the Facts at the next General Meeting


Ellen Stoecker for the Roosevelt Sustainability Group

A September 10th Elway poll showed 66 percent of Washington voters favor requiring labels on food with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Have you made up your mind?

At the September 24th general meeting, Roosevelt residents will have the opportunity to hear from Karen Chase and a Whole Foods employee about I-522, the statewide initiative to require labeling of genetically modified foods and seeds.

Chase, a representative from “Yes on I-522”, will give updates on the current polling, money being spent by various groups, and messages from campaign advertising. The Whole Foods representative will review their policy and plans regarding GMO labeling by their wholesalers and discuss their coalition with local communities to unite on food issues.

At the time of this writing Monsanto, a primary opponent in any state that has run a labeling campaign, has donated $4.5 million to the opposition. According to a Seattle Times article on September 11, 2013, agribusinesses have also contributed to the “No on 522” war chest. They, along with grocery manufacturers and chains, seemed aimed to display a “shock and awe” approach to defeating the measure. DuPont Chemical has invested $3,371,281. Dow Agrisciences made a $562,000 pledge and BASF Plant Science pledged $500,000.

On September 10, 2013, KUOW’s John Ryan reported that Monsanto was the largest contributor to the “No on 37” (GMO labeling initiative) campaign in California in 2012 with a donation of $8.1 million. Initiative 37 was narrowly defeated. Ryan notes, “Individual and corporate contributions to campaigns for elected office in Washington State cannot exceed $800 to $1,800 apiece, depending on the office. But the sky’s the limit when it comes to ballot measures in this country — spending on those is protected as political speech.” This is the first ballot initiative in Washington in which Monsanto has played such a role.

The “Yes on I-522” campaign has a majority of its $3.5 million from out-of-state contributors such as Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Organic Consumer Fund, Mercola.com Health Resources, Presence Marketing Inc, and Nature’s Path Foods. Locally, PCC Natural Markets has contributed to the campaign.

For more information see a review of the initiative in the September edition of The Roosie. Attend the next neighborhood meeting on September 24th from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at Calvary Christian Assembly to learn more before voting day on November 5th.

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