I-522:GMO Labeling

Requires labeling of food products made from genetically modified organisms.

Summary

This measure would require most raw agricultural commodities, processed foods, and seeds and seed stocks, if produced using genetic engineering as defined, to be labeled as genetically engineered when offered for retail sale.

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what your vote means

Yes

A YES vote means: Foods produced using genetic engineering, would be required to be labeled as genetically engineered when offered for retail sale in Washington, beginning in July 2015.

No

A NO vote means: Genetically engineered foods sold in Washington would continue not to have specific labeling requirements.

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campaign arguments

Yes

Voters' Guide Video - Proponent of I-522

Argument For I-522

Right to Know

In America, we have a right to know important information about the food we eat and feed our families – such as sugar and sodium levels, whether flavors are natural or artificial, the country of origin, and if fish are wild or farm-raised.

We also should have a right to choose whether we want to buy and eat genetically engineered food. Labels matter. They ensure transparency and preserve the freedom to make our own decisions about the food we eat. I-522 is a step in the right direction.

U.S. companies already label genetically engineered foods for markets in the 64 countries that require labeling, including some of Washington’s largest trading partners. Genetically engineered crops, such as wheat, have contaminated conventional crops in the Northwest.  Some countries suspended imports from our farmers, putting our economy at risk.  Separation and labeling, from the seed level up through the supply chain, helps protect exports to countries that require labeling.

Broad Support

I-522 was brought to the ballot by more than 350,000 citizens and draws strong support from farmers, fishing families, health care professionals, business owners, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents across our state.

Labels Let You Decide

Voting Yes on I-522 is an important step for more information about your food. You should have the freedom to decide what to eat. Your food decisions should be up to you — not corporations, the government, or special interests. Labels let you decide. Vote for the right to know what’s in your food.

Committee For
Judy Huntington
, RN, Executive Director, Washington Nurses Association; Seth Williams, Fourth-Generation Wheat Farmer, Eastern Washington; Walt Bowen, President, Washington State Senior Citizens’ Lobby; Trudy Bialic, Director of Public Affairs, PCC Natural Markets; Maralyn Chase, State Senator, Democrat, Shoreline; Cary Condotta, State Representative, Republican, Wenatchee.

Contact: (206) 351-3323; info@yeson522.com; http://www.yeson522.com/

Rebuttal of Argument Against

Powerful chemical corporations that genetically engineer food oppose labeling because they care about their profits, not our right to know. The truth: labels ensure transparency. The government has conducted no independent safety tests and the Washington State Nurses Association endorses labeling to trace health issues. Labeling is easy and it gives us the freedom to decide what to buy. Foods are relabeled frequently. Adding words to a label doesn’t increase costs. Trust yourself to decide.

No

Voters' Guide Video - Opponent of I-522

Argument Against I-522

I-522 mandates costly, misleading food labeling regulations in Washington that don’t exist in any other state. 

I-522 makes no sense. 
For decades, agricultural biotechnology has helped improve food crops so they resist disease, require fewer pesticides or are more nutritious. Today, 70-80% of grocery products include ingredients from these foods, and they’re deemed safe by the FDA and major scientific and medical organizations. Yet I-522 would require thousands of these products to have special, new labels — only for Washington — while giving special exemptions to thousands of others, even when they contain “genetically engineered” (GE) ingredients.

I-522 requires fruits, vegetables and grain-based products to be labeled, but exempts meat and dairy products from animals fed GE grains. It mandates special labels and signs in supermarkets, but exempts restaurants from providing information about GE ingredients in their foods. Foods from foreign countries would be exempt if manufacturers simply claim they’re exempt. So I-522 wouldn’t even give consumers a reliable way of knowing which foods contain GE ingredients.

Higher taxpayer costs, more state bureaucracy and lawsuits.
I-522 would require the state to monitor labels on thousands of products in thousands of stores — costing taxpayers millions.It would allow trial lawyers to sue farmers, food producers and grocers over the wording on food labels — encouraging shakedown lawsuits.  And, studies show I-522's Washington-only labeling requirements would hurt local farmers and increase an average family’s food costs by hundreds of dollars per year.

Washington scientists, farmers and food producers urge no on 522.

Committee Against
R. James Cook
, Professor Emeritus, WSU; Member, National Academy of Sciences; Dan Newhouse, Former Director, Washington State Department of Agriculture; Mike LaPlant, President, Washington Farm Bureau; Family Farmer, Grant County; Peter Dunbar, M.D., Former President, Washington State Medical Association; Nicole Berg, Family Farmer; National Conservation Leadership Award Winner; Eric Maier, Past President, Washington Association of Wheat Growers.

Contact: (877) 361-3993; info@VoteNOon522.com; VoteNOon522.com

Rebuttal of Argument For

Existing food labels already give consumers the option to choose foods without GE ingredients by choosing products labeled “certified organic.” I-522’s complicated, poorly written regulations would put Washington farmers and food producers at a competitive disadvantage, not protect them. I-522 would not protect our export markets or provide consumers with reliable information about our food. But it would increase grocery prices for Washington families and cost taxpayers millions. Vote no on this costly, unnecessary measure.

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campaign information

Yes

Yes on I-522 Committee

http://yeson522.com/

603 Stewart Street #819
Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (206) 432-9170
info@yeson522.com

No

NO on 522

http://www.votenoon522.com/

P.O. Box 7325
Olympia, WA 98507
Phone: (877) 361-3993
info@votenoon522.com

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Additional information

I-522 Full textClick here to view.
Measure TypeInitiative to the Legislature

Funding

Yes

RankContributor nameTotal
1DR. BRONNER'S MAGIC SOAPS$1,840,635
2CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY ACTION FUND$455,000
3MERCOLA.COM HEALTH RESOURCES LLC$300,260
4ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION$298,076
5PRESENCE MARKETING, INC$260,000
23.8%
5.9%
3.9%
3.9%
3.4%
$7.7 million raised in total

No

24.4%
17.6%
10.7%
6.9%
6.9%
$22.0 million raised in total
RankContributor nameTotal
1MONSANTO$5,374,484
2DUPONT PIONEER$3,880,159
3PEPSICO$2,352,966
4NESTLE USA$1,528,206
5THE COCA-COLA COMPANY$1,520,351

Editorials

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