On the ballet: Initiative 522

Initiative 522 will be on the Nov. 5 Washington state ballot, to require labeling genetically modified food.
The DNA structure of genetically modified food has been altered in a laboratory by scientists, and the side effects are currently not known to be harmful to humans.
“No on 522” is an $18 million campaign with donors like Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Pepsi, Coca-Cola and Nestle. Many of the contributor names were released by the Grocery Manufacturers Association after a lawsuit from the Washington state Office of the Attorney General.
“The association improperly collected the cash in a manner that shielded the identities of the companies to protect them from scrutiny,” Bob Ferguson, attorney general, told a Seattle Times reporter.
The campaign opposing the initiative has claimed that Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) foods reduce the amount of pesticide, allowing farmers to produce higher yields using less resources. This holds the key to solving serious health problems, reducing food prices and reducing hunger, according to the campaign. The GMO label may scare consumers away, and the initiative will cost the consumer hundreds of dollars more per year and cost farmers and businesses millions, according to No on 522.
Yes on 522 is a grassroots campaign supporting GMO labeling. The campaign’s goal is to allow consumers to make informed decisions about what they eat and feed their families, according to an email from Trish Becerra and Florence Vincent of Yes on 522. Becerra and Vincent have been organizing the $5.3 million campaign with one main contributor Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps and over 12,000 other small donors.
The campaign has claimed that GMOs are detrimental to human health and the environment. The opposing campaign has denied such effects and claimed GMOs promote health and conservation of our environment.
California introduced a similar initiative last year. It failed, and many attribute the loss to the $47 million budget of the opposing campaign.
Becerra and Vincent wrote in an email, “We ask people to seriously consider whose interests large corporations have at heart, the public’s or the corporation’s?”
According to the No on 522 campaign, I-522 supporters are misleading voters, and it is not as simple as it appears.
“I strongly feel that companies must provide responsible innovations and solutions when they impact the public and the environment. There need to be long-term studies that demonstrate GMOs are safe to consume. Otherwise, people become the study/experiment,” wrote Becerra’s in an email.

For more information on either campaign visit, http://www.yeson522.com and http://www.votenoon522.com.