Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Food giants pour millions into defeating Washington GMO label measure

Major U.S. food and chemical companies are pouring millions of dollars into efforts to block approval of a ballot initiative in Washington state that would make it the first in the United States to require labeling of foods containing genetically modified crops.

Despite early strong support for the measure, a recent poll suggests sentiment against the measure, known as I-522, is growing amid an onslaught of corporate-financed advertising ahead of the Nov. 5 referendum. Voters will decide whether many common grocery items containing ingredients from genetically altered crops should be labeled as such.

Supporters say labeling foods made from genetically modified organisms (GMO) would provide information for consumers to make informed shopping choices. Food and chemical companies say the wording would suggest something is wrong with gene modified ingredients that the companies believe are safe.

Many foods are made with crops that have been genetically altered. Corn and soy, two top biotech crops, are key ingredients in processed foods from cereal to chips to cookies.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), which represents more than 300 food and beverage companies, has put roughly $11 million into fighting the measure, or roughly half of the nearly $22 million raised by opponents of labeling, according to Washington Public Disclosure Commission figures as of Tuesday. Read more >>
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