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Washington moves ahead with GMO label proposal

By Jenni Spinner , 19-Apr-2013
Last updated on 19-Apr-2013 at 14:34 GMT

Following on the heels of California’s failed Proposition 37 drive, Washington’s state legislature is one step closer to voting on a ballot initiative that would require labels on biotech foods.

The I-522 ballot initiative, commonly known as “The People’s Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act” was authored by advertising executive Chris McManus. As required by state law, he circulated the initiative and obtained signatures from supportive voters.

Next, McManus submitted the proposal to Secretary of State Kim Wyman, who certified it and and forwarded to the Washington State Legislature.

GMO controversy

While the measure is receiving applause from natural-food enthusiasts, it is drawing critical comments from other parties. Bill Price, a statistician in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Idaho stated in a blog for non-profit think tank Biology Fortified Inc. that evidence supporting benefits of GMO labels is scant at best.

“Labeling of genetically modified organisms provides little useful consumer health or safety information,” he wrote.

GMO around the US

Washington isn’t the only state of the union with GMO labelling proposals on the table. Vermont’s state legislature began hearing testimony on a similar bill (H. 112) on Thursday. On Monday, Hawaii’s state legislature passed a resolution encouraging GMO label requirements on a federal level.

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