Heidi Groover writes in the Pacific Northwest Inlander:
As the local effort to label genetically modified foods heats up — supporters have raised nearly $1 million as the opposition nears $2,400 — the movement is getting mixed reactions on the national stage.
Last week, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly shot down an amendment to its farm bill, which covers most agricultural and food policy, that would have affirmed states’ rights to require GMO labeling. (The amendment came after discussion in the House about prohibiting states from banning certain farming tools or techniques that are legal in other states, potentially affecting farmers’ ability to sell their products across the country.) When he introduced the amendment, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders cited national polls about labeling and the more than 300,000 signatures that leaders of Washington state’s labeling initiative — I-522 — turned in to get the measure on the ballot this year. Opposing senators said bioengineered crops will help feed the world’s growing population and the amendment could encourage a mismatched patchwork of labeling rules across the country.
I-522 leaders urged their supporters to email federal lawmakers in favor of the amendment and the national labeling bills, but continue to push for state-level action.
“It’s just reality,” says Yes On 522 spokesperson Elizabeth Larter. “Congress is slow to get things done. There are many issues that had to be passed on state level because Congress refused to act.”