GE labeling: what's next?
Even though I-522, Washington’s initiative to label genetically engineered foods, failed to pass, a bill to label GE salmon is being readied for the legislature to consider — a more targeted approach. Other national and state labeling efforts also continue
In January 2014, Vermont’s Senate will take up a bill passed by the state House, 99 to 42, last year. In Oregon, advocates are readying an initiative for November 2014. Additional labeling efforts are underway in New Hampshire, Illinois, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
Meanwhile, the Washington farmers who started I-522 say they want to try again with another comprehensive labeling initiative in 2016. Their reasoning is that initiatives often don’t succeed the first time around, and I-522 did very well for an off-off-year for elections when voter turnout was the lowest in 10 years and skewed to older, more conservative voters. The results indicate an initiative could fare very well during a regular presidential election year, such as 2016, when more young and progressive voters participate.
With or without a labeling law, PCC has pledged to label genetically engineered foods in our stores by 2018.
Attempts to pre-empt labeling
The number one donor to the campaign against labeling, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), is working for a federal ban against mandatory labeling. Partly redacted documents filed with the Washington attorney general’s office show GMA has a three-year plan to stop labeling efforts in states across the country.
The documents show GMA is lining up cash for "a long-range funding mechanism." A total of $11million from GMA members, funneled to the No on I-522 campaign through an illegal slush fund, was spent on influencing the election. The state Attorney General is suing GMA for damages.