Washington State's GMO labeling bill (I-522) up for vote in November, is gaining steam with 66 percent of residents polled saying they support the measure.
While the label GMO community is still recovering from the unexpectedly narrow three-point defeat of Prop 37 in California last November, Washington's ballot initiative is reigniting enthusiasm over what could be the most significant labeling bill for foods containing genetically modified ingredients in the U.S., if it passes.
According to David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap and member of the "Yes on 522" finance committee, "The Yes on 522 campaign is night and day better than Prop. 37, as we've all collectively learned and improved our game. But the bottom line is that we will lose like we lost Prop. 37 if we don't step up and give I-522 the ammunition it needs to win the air war."
Washington's GMO labeling groups are confident the bill will pass if they continue to raise enough funding to compete with the Big-Ag and biotech industry pushback, which used deceptive marketing tactics to win in California. (Among the most common tactics used by the "No on 37" campaign were claims that the bill would drive up grocery costs and put pressure on farmers and taxpayers.)
To date, major funding has come in from GMO labeling supporters including Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap for a whopping $700,000; $380,000 from Presence Marketing, a natural products brokerage company; $200,000 from Mercola.com, the popular health and wellness website; $100,000 from Nature's Path cereals; and a number of other notable contributions from companies including Clif Bar, Lundberg Farms, Amy's Kitchen, and Washington natural foods retailer, PCC Markets.
Once again, however, the "No on 522" camp is also well funded and positioning itself for a slew of ads. Funding from the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Monsanto, DuPont, Bayer CropScience, and Dow Agrosciences already totals near $1 million, with much more funding likely as November nears.
"Armchair hemming, hawing, complaining or otherwise being complacent about the amazing efforts and progress we are making as a movement is no excuse for not stepping up now in Washington when it counts," said Bronner.
Maine and Connecticut both recently passed conditional GMO labeling laws, but they require neighboring states to pass similar laws in order to go into effect. Washington's bill would not have the same restrictions.
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Image: Yes on 522