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article imageKey vote over GM foods to take place in Washington

By Tim Sandle     Nov 1, 2013 in Environment
Voters in Washington state have begun casting their ballots to decide whether to label genetically-modified foods. The official vote on the initiative is on November 5.
The legislation being proposed in Washington, if accepted, would require products made using genetic engineering (including the use of genetically-modified organisms) to clearly declare as much on the main label affixed to the food stuff. Many foods are made with crops that have been genetically altered. Corn and soy, two top biotech crops, are key ingredients in processed foods from cereal to chips to cookies.
Supporters of the initiative argue that labeling foods made from genetically modified organisms (GMO) would provide information for consumers to make informed shopping choices.
The measure is known as I-522 ('the People's Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act'). Whilst opinion polls indicate that the majority of the population are in favor, the campaign is facing a major onslaught from big food companies. Major U.S. food and chemical companies are pouring millions of dollars into efforts to block approval of a ballot initiative. These food and chemical companies are [url=http://Grist[/url t=_blank]of the view the wording would suggest something is wrong with gene modified ingredients that the companies believe are safe.
According to Al-Jazeera, labeling opponents have raised more than $21 million, mostly donated by biotech companies, including Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer, and members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). The sum is apparently the most ever spent to defeat a ballot initiative in the Evergreen State. In contrast, supporters of GMO labeling, meanwhile, have raised the far smaller sum of $6.8 million.
The differences in the size of the two opposing movements appears to be influencing the vote. According to The Washington Post, in early September, 66 percent of likely voters said they planned or were leaning to vote for the measure while 21 percent opposed it, Seattle pollster Elway Research found. Now, only 46 percent plan to or are leaning to vote for I-522, compared to 42 percent against.
In addition to the vote in Washington, twenty-three other states are considering something similar. If the majority of these states vote in favor of labeling food for GMOs, then this could have significant impact on food manufacture and distribution across the U.S.
More about Gm, Gmo, Genetically modified food, Food labeling
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