Initiative Seeks GMO Food Labels in Washington State

How would you vote on labeling genetically engineered food?

You might have seen petitions about genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, circulating at local grocery stores in recent months. Now, some 350,000 signatures have been submitted to Washington state seeking food labeling for genetically engineered foods.

The sponsor of Initiative 522, Chris McManus, on Thursday submitted well more than the required 241,153 signatures of registered state voters.

The measure would require any food sold in Washington state and made with genetically engineered crops to be labeled.

This comes two months after California voters rejected a similar measure that pitted food safety advocates against agricultural and biotechnology giants in a roughly $55 million advertising battle.

According to the Washington Secretary of State’s Office, here’s what’s next:

It will go first to the lawmakers, who begin their 105-day regular session on Jan. 14. Legislators have three options for each initiative: pass it into law as is, let it go to the November ballot for a public vote, or send it and a legislative alternative to the ballot and let voters decide which, if either, they want to support. The typical initiative to the Legislature takes the second path, going on to the General Election ballot. One or both houses may hold public hearings.

You can read the full initiative text here or click on the PDF attached to this story.

What do you think of the measure? Should Washington state label genetically modified foods? Tell us why in the comments.


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