Although the final vote will not be known for days, the latest numbers on Washington's I-522 vote to be the first state to label genetically modified (GM) foods, indicate that it has failed. Counted votes show that 55% have voted against the measure and 45% have voted for the measure. This vote comes one year after the failure of California's Proposition 37 to require GM foods to be labeled. Both votes beg the question as to why a measure would fail that supports the consumer's right to know what is in their food?
One main reason appears to be the power of money, which is a sword wielded in mighty fashion by corporate America. Monsanto and friends spent over 22 million dollars to stop I-522, while proponents spent only approximately 7 million. The result was a successful re-direction campaign that left many people misinformed and confused. Perhaps it is time to change our voting system, so that money expended on campaigns are both limited and equal on both sides. Perhaps then, votes may be cast based more on the issues rather than by the persuasive and corruptive power of money.
Another main reason why I-522 may have failed, appears to be a lack of fully informed decision making when voting. More than 60% of the voters polled in Washington, said that they either did not understand GMO's to be harmful to their health or that they were confused about the issue. I-522 in chief, was about the consumer's right to know what is in our food. Whether or not the genetic modification of our food is harmful to our health, is a related but totally separate issue. Voters were also misled to believe that if they approved I-522, the result would be a substantial increase in the cost of food. In that Americans in general are financially strapped in our depressed economy, this tactic proved to be most effective.
The pending failure of I-522, represents yet another victory for Monsanto and friends and a severe loss for consumers. Notwithstanding, the fight to enforce consumer rights on this issue will continue in the "trenches" on the state level. Unfortunately, consumers are not likely to receive any help on the federal level. This is a direct result of President Obama's broken campaign promise to the people, that he would support the consumer's right to know what is in our food. Fortunately for the Obama family, there is no shortage of organic and GMO free food being served in the White House.
Long Island Lawyer
Paul A. Lauto, Esq.