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Washington State Initiative 522 Losing Momentum and Losing Standing with Voters

October 30, 2013

“Its air leaking, I-522's balloon is going flat”

With November 5 rapidly approaching the voters of Washington State, residents are being faced with a contentious piece of legislation on this year’s ballot. Washington State I-522 will require the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods and food with GE ingredients beginning in 2015. Supported by robust scientific analysis, GE crops have been found to be as safe or safer than conventional as well as organic crops to consumers. With just this point, state residents have noticed that litigious sentiments surrounding the rule are rapidly declining as voters are beginning to recognize the holes and misrepresentations embedded in the initiative, making it easy for them to vote no on I-522.

In her editorial, “Its air leaking, I-522's balloon is going flat,” Marty Trillhaase does a commendable job of demonstrating a recent media trend surrounding the legislation. The trend is that Washington State's Initiative 522 is losing momentum and consumers are recognizing that it is a poorly written piece of legislation providing false information on the issue. Marty had this to say about I-522 in her recent October 27th editorial found in the Lewiston Tribune,
“If you're asking Washington voters to label food products containing genetically modified organisms, you ought to offer something more compelling than simply saying it's the right thing to do.  The burden of proof is on the groups supporting Washington's Initiative 522.  It's their case to make.  Where is it?

“Products are labeled for a reason. It's not simply a right to know. Labeling requires a need to know. If you ingest a product, will it harm you?...In each case, consumers can weigh the risks and make a choice.

“What's the point of labeling food containing GMOs? What's dangerous or harmful about consuming them?  So far, the I-522's advocates may have hinted at concerns, but they've offered no direct argument.

“Could it be because humans have been altering genetics ever since Gregor Mendel began experimenting with peas and honey bees?  Could the reason be the evidence is on the other side? Organizations such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the World Health Organization, the European Union and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have found GMOs just as safe as other foods.  Or it could be using GMOs to expand agricultural production beats the alternative of famine?

In fact, pollster Stuart Elway had I-522 carrying 66 percent to 21 percent last month.  Since then, I-522 support has dropped to 46 percent while opposition has advanced to 42 percent. Elway says he's never seen a swing so large. A consortium of retailers and food manufacturers outspending I-522 by a 3-to-1 margin explains only part of the change in public sentiment. If the advocates for GMO labeling had the answers, wouldn't we have heard them by now?  Vote no

This fact sheet outlining the inconsistencies within the I-522 legislation was found to be helpful. To find out more information regarding the legislation visit the “Vote No 522” site here.