Another year, another interesting ballot proposal in Washington. This time it is to require labels that acknowledge the presence of GMOs in food which is already nutritionally labelled. The vote is next week, on Guy Fawkes day.
Unlike the marijuana issue, this time there are seriously annoyed corporates opposing the move. They have collectively tipped in over $20m of campaign funding. If you want a sense of how pervasive GMOs are in those United States, read the list of contributors and their brands.
Those promoting the move are characterising it as a fight between locals (consumers & farmers) vs big out-of-state business, and their myth-busting fact sheet(pdf) gives an insight into the way the the issues are being presented to voters. Samples myths include:
- Trial Lawyers Will Sue Farmers If It Passes
- Shoppers Will Pay More For Groceries
- It Would Cost Taxpayers Millions
I doubt that the GMO sellers are genuinely afraid of the direct costs. Its the indirect costs that will scare them. These will come from the market reactions of better-informed consumers who try to avoid food with GMO content. Oh, and don't forget the slippery slope: if this gets up in Washington it could break the spell and other states might do the same thing.