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10 Nov 2013 - GMO Labeling Voted Down Again

For the second time in two years, in two states, voters have rejected proposed laws that would have required the labeling of foods containing GMO ingredients.

A year ago, it was California with Proposition 37, a hotly contested, expensive campaign on both sides, that was defeated by a solid margin. This year, a few days ago, in the State of Washington, Initiative 522 went down to defeat.

Had it been approved, it would have made Washington the first state in the nation to require labeling of genetically engineered foods. About 54% of voters said “No”, 45% said “Yes.” Dana Bieber, spokeswoman for the ‘NO on I 522' campaign said . . . “The facts show that I 522 was a badly written Initiative that deserved to be voted down. We knew from the beginning, that the more voters knew about Initiative 522, the less they are going to like it.”

On the other side, David Bronner, CEO of Bronner’s Magic Soaps, biggest financial contributor to the “Yes” vote said...”Win or lose, this is a long war. Labeling is inevitable.”

Again, millions of dollars were spent and the proponents of the measure said they lost because the food industry, agriculture and agribusiness poured millions of dollars into the campaign and outspent labeling supporters by more than two to one.

The question I raise is this...if people felt so strongly about the need for labeling, why would extra dollars, on one side or the other, make a difference? It was a poorly written law and, of course, if you are a regular reader of this column, you know that I am very pleased with the outcome.

I do agree with one statement from one of the supporters “this is a long war”, and it will appear on many more state ballots; but I do not agree that labeling is inevitable. I will not support it, but I would offer this suggestion to those who do. GMO labeling is not a state issue, it is a national issue. The main reason the food industry has been so strongly opposed to the initiatives is it would mean separate labeling for all products sold in those two states. That just doesn’t make any sense.

My reason for being against it, I don’t think it is necessary because, despite what anti-GMO people say, there is no scientific proof that there is any health danger. And again, I offer this suggestion to those who are concerned...buy your food at the organic food store and you will avoid those dreaded GMO’s.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.