I am here to tell you why it is important for voters in Washington State to ignore all the lies that are coming at you from every paid media outlet. It is important to vote YES on Initiative 522 (label GMOs).
When the Seattle City Council voted 8-1 to endorse I-522, Councilmember Richard Conlin said, “Consumers have the right to know what is in their food, just as they have the right to know ingredients and nutritional information.” Amen.
He also said Washington farmers are increasingly dependent on exports and with 64 other countries worldwide now requiring labeling, those markets could be lost. With a genetic-engineering company trying to shove GMO salmon onto the marketplace, Washington’s fishing community could also be at extreme risk.
Yet, there is a massive disinformation campaign going on from every outlet—TV, radio, mass mailings—being funded by the same folks who told us DDT, PCBs and Agent Orange aren’t dangerous to human health (they are), using the same lies they used in California, and none of what they’re saying is true. Their lies are so egregious that the Washington State Attorney General filed a lawsuit against the Grocery Manufacturers Association two weeks ago, saying that they illegally collected and spent more than $7 million while shielding the identity of its contributors. Is it weird to anyone else besides me that the Grocers don’t want us to know what’s in the food we’re buying from them?
Their lies were so egregious in California, StanfordUniversity even forced them to take one commercial off the air because they represented the spokesperson as a Stanford professor, which he wasn’t. That should tell you all you need to know about the opposition’s integrity. Dana Bieber is an expensive hired gun and the gun she’s firing is full of lies.
And the latest, the opposition is falsely posing as the Democratic Party and sending out postcards with fake endorsements which the Democratic Party does NOT agree with. Here are the real Democratic Party endorsements, including YES on I-522! And all the overall Yes on 522 endorsements.
Here’s the real story about Initiative 522:
Genetically-engineered food products (GMOS) defined: For one example, Bt-corn has the gene of a pesticide artificially inserted into it in a laboratory. When an invading insect eats Bt-corn, its gut walls disintegrate until it dies from its own stomach bacteria. Then they sell it to us as food. The food folks at the FDA don’t regulate Bt-corn, but, here’s the best part, the Environmental Protection Agency DOES regulate it… as a pesticide. And corn is in everything: corn chips, corn flakes, soda pop, candy, high-fructose corn syrup, and a massive list of additives that goes on and on.
I want the ability, through labeling, to choose not to eat a pesticide.
Health effects of GMOS - The companies who sell GMOs claim patent protection and will not allow long-term health studies to be performed by independent entities. Beside, there is no control group. We are all eating genetically-engineered food products without our knowledge. The FDA and USDA have former GMO corporate execs at the helm, which is a major conflict of interest and why the federal government bureaucracies haven’t moved on labeling.
Initiative 522 is a well-written, well-researched proposition, put together by a diligent group of food industry, food policy, farm, science and health experts, whom I trust implicitly.
Initiative 522 specifically only addresses genetically-engineered crops sold whole or as ingredients in other food items, to make it as easy as possible for stores and companies to comply. These crops include: corn, soybeans, canola, sugar beets, cotton, Hawaiian papaya, some zucchini, and crookneck squash. WashingtonState law requires that ballot measures only address one state code at a time. Items not included in Initiative 522—alcohol and meat—are covered by different state or federal codes and therefore do not apply.
There is a strong precedent to Initiative 522 in the U.S.: The 2004 Food Allergen Labeling Act protects consumers by requiring labeling of possible allergens like peanuts, soy and dairy. When Congress approved it, the same food companies objected and made the same claims, yet, when the Act went into force, stores and companies complied, prices remained stable, there was no excessive or abusive litigation, and consumers had more information with which to protect themselves (we have all seen the labels, “This product made on equipment which may have once touched peanuts”).
Initiative 522 offers no economic incentives for lawyers to sue. The only new enforcement provision added by I-522 allows a consumer to sue only for an order to force required labeling to take place—not to recover any money at all. Consumers cannot file a class action without first giving notice, and if the defendant fixes the labels, then no class action is permitted. Any penalties from a violation go only to the state, not the plaintiff or lawyer.
Initiative 522 does not include a “bounty hunter” provision. The same pesticide companies making claims about lawsuits are themselves suing farmers across the country for saving their own seeds.
Food prices remained stable when the European Union required the labeling of GMOs ten years ago. Sixty-four countries across the globe either label GMOs or ban them completely, including Australia, Brazil, Japan, Peru, India, China and Russia. Why on Earth do people in Russia and China have more rights to know what’s in their food than we do? That’s not the country I grew up in.
Creates extra paperwork for retailers? As mentioned, there are only 8 GMO crops that retailers will have to label themselves. Otherwise, it’s up to the company producing the processed food boxes. Besides, they already label them on the produce they sell with the PLU codes developed by the Produce Marketing Association. So-called “conventionally grown fruit” has a label with 4 numbers. Anything organic or genetically-engineered has an extra number. Organic starts with a “9″ and genetically-engineered starts with an “8.” Organic bananas are 94011, for example. It’s FOOD, they already keep tight paperwork. That’s how they track an e-coli outbreak back to a certain corner of a certain field. Anyone who believes farmers who use GMO seeds don’t already keep reams of paperwork to address the patent protection situation, aren’t paying attention.
If you have other questions or concerns, I would be happy to address them. This is one of the most important issues of our time and Washington State has the opportunity to lead the way towards greater transparency and a more level playing field (organic farmers are not federally subsidized; GMO farmers are), which is what our free market economy is supposed to be all about.
To sum up: Vote Yes on Initiative 522! It is our right to know what’s in the food we feed our families.
To learn more about how the Pesticide and Junk Food Industries are using the exact same lies in WashingtonState that they used in California:
NY Times editorial: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/15/g-m-o-s-lets-label-em/
Thanks for reading!
All the best to you,