The Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal writes:
Washington voters will likely have a say this fall on whether or not genetically modified foods sold in the state should be labeled as such.
I-522, “The People’s Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act,” would require foods produced with genetic engineering (or containing GMOs) to carry visible labels, with some exceptions.
Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are seeds, plants, animals, fish as well as micro-organisms whose genetic material, or DNA, has been altered artificially. According to I-522 promoters, five GE crops currently prevalent on the market are corn (86 percent is genetically engineered), soy (93 percent), sugar beets (95 percent), canola (90-95 percent) and cotton. Others include salmon, papaya, yellow squash and alfalfa, which is used for animal feed.
The Federal Drug Administration does not require GE foods to have safety studies and does not independently verify the data submitted by food producers.
“Our shoppers have been demanding labels for 20 years because of genetically engineered hormones in milk,” said PCC Natural Markets public affairs director Trudy Bialic, a spokesperson for I-522. “There’s very little research (on GMOs) because of intellectual property laws in this country. Companies are prohibiting access to independent scientists so most research comes from abroad.”
That research, conducted largely in Europe, has shown a variety of harm to rats and mice, including significant liver and kidney damage, immune system damage and various ailments. Currently, 63 countries require mandatory labeling, according to the campaign — a number that has grown from 49 countries a year ago, when the petition was originally written.