It’s not what it seems to be…

The promoters of Initiative 522 on Washington’s November 2013 statewide ballot claim it’s just a “simple” proposal to require the labeling of “genetically engineered” foods. In fact, I-522 is a complicated, costly measure that is not what it seems.

I-522 would mandate special food labeling regulations in Washington that don’t exist in any other state.
For decades, agricultural biotechnology has helped improve food crops so they resist disease, require fewer pesticides or are more nutritious. Today, 70-80% of grocery products include genetically engineered (GE) ingredients, and they’re deemed safe by the USDA, the FDA and major scientific and medical organizations.

I-522 would require thousands of these common products to have special new labels — only for Washington — while giving special exemptions to thousands of others, even when they contain GE ingredients.

I-522’s arbitrary labeling requirements and exemptions make no sense.

I-522 requires fruits, vegetables and grain-based products to be labeled, but exempts meat and dairy products from animals fed GE grains. It mandates special labels and signs for foods containing GE ingredients when they are sold in supermarkets, but it exempts restaurants from providing information about GE ingredients in their foods.

Foods imported from foreign countries would be exempt if manufacturers simply claim they’re exempt. So I-522 would not even give consumers a reliable way of knowing which foods contain GE ingredients and which don’t.

So I-522 would not even give consumers a reliable way of knowing which foods contain GE ingredients and which don’t.

Meanwhile, existing food labels already give consumers a way to choose foods made without GE ingredients if that’s what they prefer, by simply buying foods labeled as “organic” or“non-GMO.”

Click here to see examples of  I-522′s arbitrary exemptions.

I-522 would create more state bureaucracy, impose new costs and burdens on local farmers and businesses, and increase food prices for Washington families.

I-522 would:
  • Require the state government to monitor labels on thousands of food products in thousands of stores — costing taxpayers millions.
  •  Give trial lawyers an unprecedented new right to sue farmers, food producers and store owners over the wording on food labels — encouraging shakedown lawsuits.
  • Put Washington farmers and food companies at a competitive disadvantage by increasing their costs and discouraging them from using modern varieties of crops that are more resistant to pests and disease and require less pesticides and water.
  • Force farmers and food producers to implement costly new labeling, packaging, distribution and record keeping operations or switch to higher priced, specially handled, non-GE ingredients in order to sell food in Washington state.
The added costs I-522 would impose on farmers, food producers and grocers would be passed on to Washington consumers. Economic studies indicate that I-522 would ultimately increase food costs for an average family by hundreds of dollars per year.

Washington farmers, food producers and scientists urge you to look into the facts carefully before you vote on I-522.
“There is no scientific justification for special labeling of bio engineered foods.”
The American Medical Association

“I-522 would burden Washington farmers with increased regulatory red tape and bookkeeping requirements and drive up food costs for Washington residents.”
Mike LaPlant, President, Washington Farm Bureau, Representing 42,000 local farmers, ranchers & member families