Update: On March 11, 2016, a court found that the Grocery Manufacturer's Association was in violation of Washington state's campaign finance disclosure laws when it tried to conceal the identities of corporations that contributed to a fund used to defeat a food labeling effort called "No on 522." Internal GMA documents revealed that the association systematically tried to conceal the source of the contributions. The court has not determined if the GMA knew what it was doing was illegal, so no penalty has been determined. (Source: Nation of Change)
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Even though California’s Proposition 37 was defeated at the polls in November, the awareness that the nationwide coverage of the defeated bill brought to GMO labeling was a positive thing. This year, Washington state has a GMO labeling bill on its November ballot, Initiative 522, “an act relating to disclosure of foods produced through genetic engineering.”
The labeling of foods that are created with GMO ingredients is an issue that the majority of Americans agree on. When polled, 90 percent of people from both the Republican and Democratic Parties say it’s important. But, when they go to the polls, campaigns designed to make them question whether labeling is really in their best interest have proven successful.
The Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA) is one of the major contributors to No on 522, and today the group filed paperwork with the Washington State Public Disclosure Administration that disclosees “the source of all funds used in connection with Washington State elections.” Right now, the only source I can find with the list of food companies contributing to the campaign is on HeraldNet, a site that covers local news in Washington State.
It’s important to know who is behind these campaigns. The food manufacturers that are contributing to it create products that use genetically modified organisms as ingredients. It’s in their financial interest to have this bill defeated.
The push to have GMOs labeled is to give consumers information. We have the right to know what’s in our foods so we can make informed decisions. Neither Washington’s I-522 nor defeated California’s Proposition 37 is about prohibiting or limiting GMOs. They’re both about putting information on a food label just like calories, serving sizes or allergens.
Consumers want information, and now they’ll be getting the information on which food manufacturers are contributing to No on 522. It’s all just information so people can make decisions -- nothing anyone should be afraid of.
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