The Day After: I-522 Blues

Voting, I-522, Washington stateWell…it’s the day after the election and it looks certain that I-522 is going down to defeat here in Washington state. And I am stunned. Absolutely stunned. What the hell happened, Washington voters?! I-522 was the measure that would have made Washington the first state in the nation to require labeling of genetically engineered food. To me, anything that provides more information about the food we eat is a good thing. So I was a decided YES voter on I-522 since I first heard about it. And it seemed like everyone I talked to was on board with it too. Anything that creates public awareness about GMOs is a good thing.

But never underestimate the power of huge corporations. Enter the $22 million in donations for the “No” campaign from Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Bayer CropScience, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). All big investors in genetically engineered crops. The “No” commercials ran seemingly nonstop, spouting lies and accusations. They had the most wooden spokespeople on those ads – doctors, farmers, and scientists – all speaking from a script by rote. Just incredibly bad. Talk about selling out.

However, it worked. Big money and corporate lies still sway voters. The “No” campaign can claim a victory…for now. But I am convinced that the seeds of awareness have been planted and the cat is out of the bag. This is not going away anytime soon. My hope is for a federal labeling system for all states, and it looks like it’s inevitable. In the meantime, we can plant organic gardens and be more aware of where and how we shop to avoid GMOs. To be certain, I shop at Trader Joe’s where all their products are GMO-free, which is wonderful. If I shop anywhere else, I just assume that any food products I buy are full of GMOs. But it really would have been nice to have them labeled.





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