It was one year ago when California's Proposition 37 to label genetically modified (GM) foods, was narrowly defeated by a few percentage points. Monsanto, DuPont and the like, in a true Davey and Goliath battle, poured millions and millions of dollars into an anti-label campaign designed solely to defeat Proposition 37. The result was a victory for "Goliath" and a defeat for consumers.
This election day the campaign for consumer rights continues and is now focused in the state of Washington. The state of Washington has proposed people's initiative 522, also known as "The People's Right To Know Genetically Engineered Food Act". Although this proposal pertains to the state of Washington, the results will affect the entire country.
Many people believe that the time for America to stand up and support the consumer's right to know what food they are putting in their bodies, is long overdue. Well over 60 countries world wide support that consumer right by law, yet in America corporate greed still prevails. I-522 is not necessarily about whether or not you believe in the genetic modification of our food, as much as it is about the consumer's right to know.
It wasn't until 1990 that we had a label law requiring listing calorie and nutritional information, 2002 before country of origin information was required to be listed and 2006 before trans fat content was required to be labeled. Today, all of these label requirements have been implemented without any significant increase in cost to the consumer and are considered to be a staple in the consumer's right to know.
If I-522 passes, food manufactures will no longer be able to deceptively label GM foods as "natural" or "all natural" in the state of Washington and will be required to clearly label all GM foods. The likelihood will be that other states will follow Washington's lead, until a federal GM food label law is enacted. Once all GM foods are clearly marked, millions of consumers will likely demand non-GM alternatives and the sale of non-GM foods will dramatically increase. Would you vote for or against the consumer's right to know?
Long Island Lawyer
Paul A. Lauto, Esq.