The state of Washington recently held a statewide ballot vote on a proposed law to require a label on all products with genetically modified (GMO) ingredients. Initiative 522, also known as the Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food Measure, was opposed by 55% of Washington voters. Other states have failed to pass similar labeling laws through state legislatures.

Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), which has been following the labeling trend, issued the following statement on Nov. 6 in response to Washington’s election results: “We are pleased that the voters of Washington state rejected I-522 by a significant margin. I-522 was a complex and costly proposal that would have misled consumers, raised the price of groceries for Washington families and done nothing to improve food safety.

“The food and beverage industry is committed to providing consumers with a wide array of safe and affordable food and beverage choices. Genetically modified food ingredients (GMOs) are safe, good for the environment, reduce the cost of food and help feed a growing global population of 7 billion.

“Because a 50-state patchwork of GMO labeling laws would be confusing and costly to consumers, GMA will advocate for a federal solution that will protect consumers by ensuring that the [Food and Drug Administration], America's leading food-safety authority, sets national standards for the safety and labeling of products made with GMO ingredients. Our country’s labeling laws have been and should continue to be based on health, safety and nutritional content.

“We will continue to oppose individual state efforts to impose mandatory labeling of products made with GMO technology, as well as advocate for the safe and effective use of this important technology to increase the food supply while lowering cost. And we will continue to engage in an informative dialogue with our consumers on the safety, prevalence and benefits of that technology.”

Source: Grocery Manufacturers Association, Independent Bakers Association