Washington State GMO labeling initiative to go to the voters in a November ballot

By Elaine WATSON

- Last updated on GMT

Washington State GMO labeling initiative to go to the voters

Related tags Federal gmo labeling Genetically modified food Genetically modified organism

Voters will get to decide whether foods with genetically modified ingredients should be labeled in Washington State because lawmakers have taken no action on GMO labeling initiative I-522.

State lawmakers could have adopted  I-522 (an Initiative to the Legislature under the state constitution) or proposed their own version, but because they took no action by the April 28 deadline* (click here​), the measure will be added to the November ballot with the language written by its sponsors.

Like California's Proposition 37, which was narrowly defeated last November, I-522 includes a private enforcement provision, enabling private citizens to file suit to enforce the law if state officials do not take action 60 days after being notified of  a violation. 

It would also allows citizens to recover investigation costs and attorneys’ fees.

However, it does not attempt to define 'natural' or propose that 'natural' foods should not contain GMOs, one of the most controversial aspects of Prop 37.

As it stands, federal law does not require the labeling of genetically engineered foods​ as the FDA has consistently argued that they do not differ from other foods "in any meaningful or material way​" or present any different or greater safety concerns than foods developed by traditional plant breeding methods.

Click here​ to read the full text of I-522.

Click here​ to read about a federal GMO labeling bill introduced to Congress earlier this month by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep Peter DeFazio (D-OR).

*The Washington State 2013 Regular Session adjourned on April 28.

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