Washington state takes on GE labeling | Pesticide Action Network
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Washington state takes on GE labeling

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In news out earlier this week, food and farming leaders from the Evergreen State are taking up the issue of labeling genetically engineered foods on the state’s ballot. Despite the fact that federal and state governments have largely either ignored or assiduously avoided the issue, Washington joins California in taking the matter directly to the voters.

This should be no surprise, as ballot initiatives have proven the last resort when other policy arenas fail to take up or take action on public issues.The Food and Drug Agency (FDA) has failed to add labeling to everyday grocery products, despite repeated requests by millions of Americans. Earlier this year, over 500 organizations across the country in the Just Label It coalition, including PAN, sent a million petition signatures to FDA. Their response? “Don’t call us, we’ll call you,” reports Grist’s Tom Laskawy.

After more than 19 state legislatures rejected measures mothers, farmers and farmworkers had no other recourse than to take the issue to the ballot. And they are in good standing. A majority of Americans support labeling in general and a statewide poll out this week by the Los Angeles Times, demonstrates that more than 60% of Californians support labeling.

Eyes on the prize…California

All eyes are on California. The stakes are high as labeling in the populous state with the ninth largest economy in the world promises to shift the entire marketplace. That’s why the opposition to the “Right to Know” Proposition 37, funded largely by the “Big 6” GE seed/pesticide corporations, is pumping millions more into PR efforts in the weeks leading up to the election. California's precedent-setting potential is likely also why other states are following suit.

"Don't make any mistake, this is chemical companies" opposing labeling, said Trudy Bialic, director of public affairs at Seattle-based PCC Natural Markets and one of the lead groups taking up the measure in Washington. "It's the same people who brought us Agent Orange, DDT and PCBs, and they're saying now, 'Trust us with your food.'"

Shining a light on industry’s 'dirty little secret'

As PAN’s senior scientist Marcia Ishii-Eiteman points out on Civil Eats, the public is now seeing through industry’s “dirty little secret,” given new information out from scientists in the Evergreen State.

In a report out this week drawn from USDA data, Washington State’s Chuck Benbrook documents the increased pesticide use as a result of GE crops. The treadmill of weed and insect resistance, and more pesticide use, presents challenges for farmers, rural communities and consumers alike. Benbrook had this to say: "Things are getting worse, fast. In order to deal with rapidly spreading resistant weeds, farmers are being forced to expand use of older, higher-risk herbicides."

But if both California and Washington state used their purchasing power to push pause on the pesticide treadmill, what then? 

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LEO G YOUNGER's picture
For information about California's Proposition 37, please visit www.carighttoknow.org
ThomasT's picture
ThomasT /
Have you seen the French rat experiments that have gone to full lifespan of the lab rates, as opposed to Monsanto's 40% term? These new exp. show massive early cancers and organ damage. google that at naturalnews.com. Many of us knew decades ago not to touch GMOs. See this news release. Biologist Arpad Pusztai had more than 300 articles and 12 books to his credit and was the world’s top expert in his field. nBut when he accidentally discovered that genetically modified (GM) foods are dangerous, he became the biotech industry’s bad-boy poster child, setting an example for other scientists thinking about blowing the whistle. In the early 1990s, Dr. Pusztai was awarded a $3 million grant by the UK government to design the system for safety testing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). His team included more than 20 scientists working at three facilities, including the Rowett Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland, the top nutritional research lab in the UK, and his employer for the previous 35 years. The results of Pusztai’s work were supposed to become the required testing protocols for all of Europe. But when he fed supposedly harmless GM potatoes to rats, things didn’t go as planned. Within just 10 days, the animals developed potentially pre-cancerous cell growth, smaller brains, livers, and testicles, partially atrophied livers, and damaged immune systems. Moreover, the cause was almost certainly side effects from the process of genetic engineering itself. In other words, the GM foods on the market, which are created from the same process, might have similar affects on humans.
HHF's picture
In spite of the overwhelming corruption in the regulatory agencies and the political pull in high places as well as purchasing the loyalty of the Universities by funding infrastructure and research, the initiative process is the death knell for Monsanto and their ilk. Once California and Washington make the labeling mandatory food companies will scurry to alternatives rather than lose market share. I can not think of another company more deserving of demise than Monsanto. The next logical target would be Aspartame.
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