Why Not Label Genetically Modified Food?

by: Posted on: September 08, 2013

Editor’s Note: We were privileged to ask the campaign opposing Washington State’s Initiative 522 a few questions. If passed in November 2013, I-522 will require genetically modified foods in Washington State to be labeled. Read below to familiarize yourself with the language and stories used in defense of genetically modified organisms. See here for our conversation with the Yes on I-522 campaign.


What are some of the virtues of genetically modified foods?

Agricultural biotechnology has been used for decades to help improve food crops so they resist disease, require fewer pesticides or are more nutritious. These crops help farmers conserve soil, water, and energy, and are more environmentally friendly to grow. Reducing the amount of pesticides that farmers have to use is safer for the environment and for farm families and farm workers. In addition, fewer applications of pesticides and herbicides reduce the amount of diesel fuel that must be used for machinery to treat crops. Today, 70 to 80 percent of grocery products include some type of genetically engineered ingredient (from soy, corn, sugar beets or canola, for example), and they’re deemed safe by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and many other major scientific and medical organizations.

These plant varieties have been modified through very precise genetic techniques so they produce a specific protein or enzyme that makes them resistant to insect pests, plant viruses or certain safe herbicides. They are not nutritionally different from and are just as safe as conventionally bred plant varieties. In addition, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) – the world’s largest scientific organization and publisher of Science magazine – these foods are “the most extensively tested crops ever added to our food supply.”

Why do you believe it is important that genetically modified foods not be labeled in Washington?

It is important for food labels in Washington and every state to have consistent and factual information. I-522 would not provide that. Instead, it would create inconsistent and misleading labeling regulations in Washington that don’t exist in any other state. I-522 would put Washington farmers and food companies at a competitive disadvantage by increasing their production costs and discouraging them from using modern varieties of crops that require less pesticides and water. Food labeling regulations should be set at the federal level so that farmers, food producers, and consumers in every state are treated equally.

Do you believe that Washington State has the legal authority to label genetically modified foods? Why or why not?

Again, food labeling regulations should be set at the federal level so that farmers, food producers, grocers, retailers and consumers in every state are treated equally. Legal or not, I-522’s mandatory regulations just don’t make any sense. They wouldn’t even treat all food products equally – some products like soy milk and vegetables would require special labels, but others like meat, milk, and cheese would not – even if they are made with genetically engineered ingredients. I-522 wouldn’t even give consumers a reliable way of knowing which products actually contain genetically engineered ingredients and which do not.

When it comes to the future of genetically modified foods how important is labeling? If I-522 passes, why wouldn’t that be the end of the story for genetically modified food in Washington?

The proponents of I-522 have stated publicly that their ultimate goal is not to provide more information on food labels, but to completely eliminate these perfectly safe and healthy foods from our food supply. That would increase food costs for Washington consumers and unfairly hurt family farmers and food producers by putting them at a competitive disadvantage and cutting them off from new technologies that could improve agricultural production, protect the environment, and conserve water, soil and energy. I-522 doesn’t make any sense and would cause real harm to farmers and consumers in our state. That’s why the Washington State Farm Bureau, the Washington Association of Wheat Growers, and agricultural organizations representing tens of thousands of farm families across our state oppose I-522.


To learn more about I-522, visit FactsAbout522.com.

2 Responses to “Why Not Label Genetically Modified Food?”

  • I do believe the GMO crops of corn, wheat, soy and many others grown foods are a detriment to human health. The non-GMO products are better digested than GMO foods and a look at those cultures that consume much, corn wheat and soy vividly show how they are causing obesity, as these foods are not compatible with the human enzymes that aid in metabolism and digestion. Check out Europe and even China, GMO's are forbidden for sale in these countries. AND, they are less obese than persons of the US, Mexico and other countries that consume large amounts of these Foods. GMO's are outlawed in Europe!   No, Monsanto Chemical co. lobbied for the the federal Monsanto Protection Act for a reason; they know that they will be sued for the products they have artificially created and now cannot be prosecuted for any damage to human or animal health. They lobbied to the degree that even the Supreme Court of the US cannot prosecute them. WAKE UP AMERICA. Get rid of the GMO foods or the likes of Monsanto will totally control your foods and when that happens..THEY WILL CONTROL YOU. MAKE SENSE? As for the pesticides necessary and higher costs to produce natural organic foods? One Washington bureaucrat made that possible with one stroke of a pen when they signed the bill to eliminate DDT, the most widely used effective, not proven harmful-to-human, pesticide. One person, ill informed and manipulated, opened the door to our demise. Not riding our food supply of these GMO products will effectively do the same thing unless we the people vote to ban these products. Please ponder what I have printed and search for you own answers.    We are the fruit of a magnificent land, let us all take part in maintaing it. It was Created for us, let us not destroy it with scientific genetic mutations to our food crops. Thanks for the read "A man named Peter" by: Peter H Basralianon: Saturday 18th of January 2014 "A man named Peter"
    by: Peter H Basralianon: Saturday 18th of January 2014
  • This is a an interesting and informative interview. It does give a food for thought on GM foods. great job!!
    by: alkaline dieton: Saturday 15th of February 2014

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