I-522: The People’s Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act

I-522: The People’s Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act

Labelitwa.org is an anti-GMO activist organization that has put together a piece of legislation that would mandate labelling for foods containing genetically modified ingredients. “1-522: The People’s Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act” was submitted to the Secretary of State’s office in Olympia, Washington after receiving 329,731 signatures in its defense. As did activists for California’s ballot initiative to label genetically modified foods, Proposition 37, volunteers spent many hours educating other individuals about the health defects GMOs can cause and the fact that over ¾ of the food in grocery stores contain genetically modified ingredients. Washington groups are collaborating to pass a ballot initiative (I-522) that would require all genetically engineered foods sold in Washington to be labelled as such.

Initiative process

In the United States, 24 states have an initiative process. If the people want a law and they cannot get their legislators to enact it, the people may gather a certain number of signatures stipulated by the state, within a limited amount of time, to put a proposed law on the ballot for people to vote on directly. Every state has different requirements.

Polls consistently show that the vast majority of the public (between 75 and 93 percent) want to know if their food was produced using genetic engineering. Without disclosure, consumers of genetically engineered food unknowingly may violate their own dietary and religious restrictions.

Do you know if it’s GMO? Genetically engineered foods are not proven safe and the long-term health risks on humans have not been investigated adequately. Accumulating research has prompted a growing number of countries to require mandatory labelling.

63 countries have mandatory labelling laws including Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, India, China, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, South Africa, Russia, Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, the UK, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Croatia, Sweden and other nations in the European Union. Many have bans or other restrictions against genetically engineered crops and foods.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require safety assessments and does not review all genetically engineered products entering the market. When questions arise over safety, FDA can point only to studies done by the chemical or pharmaceutical companies that develop genetically engineered products. These companies themselves determine if their products are safe or “warrant analytical or toxicological tests.”

Even if companies admit there are safety questions, “consultations” are voluntary. If companies decide to talk to the FDA, corporate studies are protected as trade secrets so they’re not available for public review.

The FDA does not review genetically engineered seeds or crops that make their own pesticides in every cell, including the parts we eat. These genetically engineered food plants are registered as pesticides at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Endorse I-522 “The People’s Right To Know Genetically Engineered Food Act” at www.labelitwa.org/we_support

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