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Early Editorials Against GMO Labeling Initiative in Washington State

An early indication last year that California’s Proposition 37 might be in trouble was its unpopularity with the state’s newspaper editorial writers. The same phenomenon may be playing out in the Evergreen State, where scribes with opinions aren’t showing much support for Washington’s Initiative 522.

The Seattle Times, Washington state’s largest newspaper, warned voters as early as Feb. 17 to be skeptical about I-522. “Consumers absolutely have a right to know what they are eating is safe, but Initiative 522’s purpose of singling out genetically engineered foods for labeling isn’t the answer to our health questions,” said the Seattle Times editorial board. “The dialogue should center on science. And so far — there is no reliable evidence crops containing genetically modified organisms, commonly referred to as ‘GMO’ foods, pose any risks.”

Like Prop. 37, I-522 requires that food with genetically-modified organisms be labeled at the retail level. It reached the ballot as a “Initiative to the Legislature,” meaning it went first to the last session of the Washington Legislature before being placed on the ballot without any changes.

As the election has moved closer, the Wenatchee World, Tri-City Herald and Spokesman-Review, probably the three most influential newspapers in eastern Washington, have also come out against I-522. Also like California, it’s likely there will be a large rural/urban split over the measure by Evergreen State voters.

Newspaper editorials in Washington State are following along the same lines of debate that were expressed last year in California, with some attention going to the specific language of the measure.

Some say the labeling system that will follow if voters approve I-522 will be vague with little useful information. For example, it does not require any specific GMOs to be listed, just that they might be present.

And, exceptions in the initiative for restaurants and bars and alcoholic beverages sold at retail are raising some eyebrows. At the same time, small businesses will likely find penalties for noncompliance to be punitive. At the same time, national companies might just label everything with a generic GMO label to be in compliance in Washington State.

Another issue in the discussion is that the GMO label has to be conspicuously posted on the package, raising concern it may push more important nutritional and health information to a place of less prominence.

Finally, I-522 is producing debate about whether organic and GMO production can exist alongside one another.

More editorial voices will weigh in immediately prior to the election. Both yes and no campaigns are up and running on I-522, with both the proponent’s and opponent’s campaign organizations having raised about $3.3 million each.

For whatever it may be lacking in newspaper endorsements, the “Yes on 522” campaign is working to make up for them by publicizing its support from business, fishing and maritime organizations, unions, farmers and ranchers, elected officials and individuals. The “Vote No on 522” campaign just keeps publishing all the editorial support it has received, including from national newspapers that have also weighed in on Washington’s battle at the ballot box.

© Food Safety News
  • J T

    There IS reliable science that GMO is a threat to humans, animals, and the environment. There would be considerably more evidence of this if monsanto were not allowed to sue people to prevent them from doing research on their products! They know they are killing people and causing huge numbers of cancer cases throughout the world, so they have much to hide. Monsanto bankrolls the private mercenary thugs previously known as Blackwater and Xe. Monsanto has much to hide, and none of it is good.

    • OH

      It isn’t true about Blackwater and Xe, that was misinformation designed by your guys to help you discredit us. How could you tell anyone about science if you point to a known debunked story. Monsanto hired some thugs one time, it wasn’t a big deal and nothing was done and it was probably staged.
      This is the level of deception we are dealing with, we are dealing with fiends who would kill us all for a dollar.

  • RobertWager

    Worth a read by everyone interested in this debate.

    • Your1Friend

      Who on Earth is so naive as to trust the AMA, FDA, or USDA on most any matter, RobertWager!

      How gullible do you think we are?!?

      Ever hear of Washington’s “Revolving Door?”

  • like2dive

    Yes Organic food has killed a few people. People kill people too! I want to know if my food is GMO or not. Have you visited a farm Lately? We have a major farm approx 1 mi from my house. GMO soy & Canola. The farm workers wear Haz matt suits full face masks & air packs while working the crop. I do not want to eat food with Monsanto’s GMO’s & round-up sprayed to kill all life except the soy & canola which grow normally when sprayed with poison? WTF don’t you care what you are eating? For your children? You probably eat anything. Cows, Pigs, Sheep, Chickens, Turkeys Etc… Factory farms & Big Corporate farming has profits before people. You are sheep, I’d eat you, but I’m Vegan so if I ever eat meat again I would do so, if it was your dog or cat. I will lure them in slice their throats, let them hang upside down till they bleed to death. Gut them, chop them up into steaks and have a nice warm compassionate dinner with you. Cause your dog & that Cow are equal live beings. & Humans are the cancer of the earth!.

    • Steve

      Well, you started off lucid and making sense, but about half way through you went full vegan psycho. A little advice, crazy talk about eating people and their family pets are why no one takes the vegan movement seriously. You may want to seek professional help.

      • like2dive

        The truth hurts. I know I was in denial for 50 years. Eating my dog would be a way better option than a Factory farmed pig. Factory farmed pigs are tortured, penned in so that cant walk, shot up with antibiotics & growth hormones cause the conditions are so filthy that they live in their own waste. They are murdered – throats slit and their hearts pump all the blood out cause we don’t like bloody meat. It;s very disgusting process. No I wouldn’t eat people, but true to my heart I would rather eat my dog then a cow or pig. My dog is fed good clean food & not pumped up with drugs. He doesn’t sleep in his own shit! Like the cows & pigs that most people eat. Long live the truth as only a few of us are “enlightened. All living creatures of the earth should receive the same respect. We have not weaved the web of life we are only one strand of it! Peace brother. I’m not eating animals or their by products anymore & I wish you the best & maybe you can try to stop eating your brothers & sisters. When you lower animals to that of commodities, we have lost the purpose of all living beings on earth. Peace be with you. I’ll stick to a plant based diet with no GMO’s.

  • Ryan

    The exemptions of meat and dairy products alone is enough to cause me to vote NO. Why not label all foods? This seems like misinformation by exemption. I too am interested in being informed about GMO’s in the food I eat. But I want the full truth not just enough to make me feel good about it. Give me an initiative that is fair across the board for all and I would vote yes.

    • Alvin Monero

      Like many Sheople you’ve let Monsanto deceive you. Think about it….cows are NOT yet Genetically engineered organisms so of course them & their milk does NOT need to be labeled as such. See how this deceptive nudging worked so well last year in California? No matter how you wrote and re-wrote this bill for the next 300 years Monsanto will constantly come up with drivel to cry against GMO labelling.

    • OH

      I do not believe that the real reason you are telling people to vote NO is the exemption on livestock feed – not livestock by the way you twister of facts but livestock feed.
      Monsanto is threatened by labeling food so Americans can decide what to buy. Clearly Monsanto does not want I-522. DUH.

      It is disgusting, you coming up here, knowing part of the truth, about how really 70% of the commercial GMO crops are livestock feed and the other 30% is cotton, oil, sugar, and syrup – which are extracts. And to try to use part of that knowledge not to educate but to cheat Americans out of having the right to know what is in our food.

  • Your1Friend

    What a (highly predictable) copout on the part of The Seattle Times editorial board (February 17, as reported above).

    “Consumers absolutely have a right to know what they are eating is safe, but Initiative 522’s purpose of singling out genetically engineered foods for labeling isn’t the answer to our health questions.”

    We might remind the “editorial board” that GMO labeling never presumed to be “the answer to our health questions.” Informed consumers just want to know if this controversial and environmentally destructive technology is making its way to their tables! Full disclosure is all we are asking for.

    Full disclosure: What is your problem with that Seattle Times?

    The “editorial board” pontificates further…

    “The dialogue should center on science. And so far — there is no reliable evidence crops containing genetically modified organisms, commonly referred to as ‘GMO’ foods, pose any risks.”

    Again, Seattle Times, you fail at every point.

    Among other things, you fail to ask the correct “questions” that are in the consumers best interests.

    Here is how the “question” might be responsibly posed: “And so far — there is no reliable evidence crops containing genetically modified organisms, commonly referred to as ‘GMO’ foods, are unequivocally safe for the environment, animal consumption, and human consumption.”

    • T.Adams

      You read my mind…
      Thank you.
      I noticed the Times didn’t offer a solution; they were simply shooting down someone else’s idea.

  • Alvin Monero

    So Monsanto is going to use the exact list of Propagandal Bovine Scat that they used in California to defeat the same type of prop? Every State that tries this prop is going to have Monsanto and their minions at their doorstep spreading the same lies. Only stands to reason how far they’ll go to protect their profit margin. They’ll always get some grey-haired actor pretending to be an authority in a commercial to claim that a bill such as this is poorly written. In fact, you could spend the next 1,000 years writing & re-writing a bill like this & they will always try and create confusion to deceive voters. Has a bill like this that is in effect in 60 other countries hurt their populaces? No. In fact they are statistically healthier.
    How about the French experiment on Monsanto’s cancer-causing Franken-corn? Monsanto and their payed-off ilk are screaming foul about that—when all the french did was duplicate Monsanto’s tests and extend them to the lab-rats full 2-year life cycle instead of the maximum 3 months that Monsanto does.
    A Monsanto exec is quoted as admitting that GMO labeling would be akin to placing a skull & crossbones in the eyes of consumers……thereby reducing demand for their frankenfood & hurting their profit margins.
    Has anyone thought to ask why in the Monsanto headquarters in St.Louis their cafeteria serves organic food? See?…they won’t even trust eating their own creations but have no qualms with poisoning you & your family with their cancer-corn to line their pockets with $$.

  • frogbutt

    If monsanto are behind the opposition then count me as a “yes” vote. They are a bunch of c**nts. Surprized they have managed to stay so far under the radar.

  • reginabee

    THe biotech industry’s campaign to tell americans they are too stupid to read an ingredient label is on! Americans have the right to know what is in the foods they buy. We have long fought for our personal freedoms and along comes monsanto with its big bucks and tells us otherwise. Fortunately, Americans are questioning the reasons why these ingredients that are manufactured by genetic engineering in a lab are not labeled. In Europe, where gmo is labeled and in some places outright banned , the people have the freedom to know where gmo ingredients are. Monsanto is trying to take away our freedom of choice, ( gmo crops contaminate non gmo crops) our freedom to know, (they are paying $$$$$ to fight labeling efforts in the USA) and the freedom of farmers to save their seed. Monsanto does not want Americans to have freedom, they are enslaving our food system and making sure that we don’t get in thier way until it is too late and they have contaminated all crops with this unwanted and unnecessary technique to produce food. Deceptive campaigns to bamboozle voters are being unleashed by the biotech. This raises a red flag for most people: why is a biotech company, in fact, the number one biotech company in the world fighting….LABELS???? Honestly, if they were so sure and proud their products are as wonderous as they say, they should label gmo. It is VERY LITTLE to ask for in america. VERY LITTLE.

  • OH

    The Seattle Times PI has not put forward ANY evidence, whatsoever, that Americans living in Washington State would buy these inferior products if allowed to make our own choice.

  • Steve Hanson

    A MUST READ! > Click on See More below to read my short researched post & click on the URL below that for short briefing on the latest truths brought forth:
    A REAL MONSTER is roaming the streets & TV rooms in WA state on this Halloween nig…ht! Has been the last 5 weeks & the next 5 days until the vote on WA’s I-522. It’s the evil MONSANTO Mafia + other bio-tech Corp’s + the GMA who combined $22,000,000 (22 million dollar campaign finanance) to turn FORMERLY CREDIBLE newspapers & former Gov’ ppl & Corp farmers into sellout LIARS in their mega-TV ad blitz trying to get a ‘No on I-522’. It’s a fact – research the immense amount each TV ad sellout got for knowingly lie on behalf of Monsanto & crew! A YES on I-522 is the most important state vote ever – especially after mega-money bought a close ‘no’ victory last year for keeping California consumers from knowing what’s in their food!!! The worst is GMOs but there’s other bad things they & the Corp food retailers want hidden in order to protect their big profits also (not so with New Seasons markets). The cost of a YES win to consumers in the form of certifiying/testing ingredients & new labeling will be VERY LITTLE per capita – and the best cheap investiment in improving your family’s healthy per dollar that money can buy! … Read this short factual report:

  • YourEnchantedGardener

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRgP9ASQAq4 This is a recording of Salk Institute Scientist Dr Frank Shubert. He says there have been no long term studies on humans RE: GMOs.