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Hain Celestial CEO: I think GMO labeling initiaitive I-522 will pass in Washington State

By Elaine WATSON , 09-Oct-2013

Hain Celestial: GMO labeling initiaitive I-522 will pass in Washington

With all eyes on Washington State - where voters will soon (Nov 5) get to vote on an initiative (I-522) calling for mandatory GMO labeling - the CEO of leading natural and organic foods maker Hain Celestial predicts that it will pass.

Speaking at an analyst/investor day yesterday, CEO Irwin Simon said: “Last year you had some of the big companies in California spend a lot of money to get it [GMO labeling, as enshrined in Proposition 37] squashed.

“It’s on the ballot this year in Washington, New Mexico and 30 other states are trying to get it pass. And I think it's going to pass in Washington State.

“99% of Hain products have been GMO-free since 2004, [and] there's times when [JP Morgan Chase analyst] Ken Goldman said to me, why are your margins lower? Well, [because] we always use for the longest time GMO-free ingredients.

“But, the benefit is finally coming… There's non-GMO verified, we put that non-GMO verified [seal] on it. You see sales [of non-GMO verified products] growing double-digit and by 2018, and I think it's going to be sooner, if it's not GMO verified free, you will not be able to sell in Whole Foods… I think that's going to change food tremendously.

Demand for healthier eating options is what's driving our growth

He added: “If you [look at] what's driving the growth today, [it’s] low-glycemic, GMO-free, plant sterols… antibiotic-free, gluten-free, organic, and a lot of people want to take lactose out of their diet. Nobody wants high-fructose corn sweeteners anymore, health-conscious naturals, whole grains, sprouted grains… No MSG, of course, high fiber and multigrain. And demand for healthier eating options is what's driving our growth. Omegas, chia, flax seeds…”

The legislature in Washington State did not vote on I-522, so it is now on the November 5, 2013 general election ballot. If passed into law by voters, I-522 would take effect on July 1, 2015.

Click here to read I-522. 

Click here to go to the website of the YES campaign. 

Click here to go to the website of the NO campaign. 

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