GMO

Government regulators have approved a new generation of genetically engineered corn and soybeans. They're the latest weapon in an arms race between farmers and weeds, and the government's green light is provoking angry opposition from environmentalists.

Toby Talbot / AP Photo

Oregon voters may get the chance to require food companies to label products that contain genetically engineered ingredients.

Sponsors of an initiative to require labels turned in more than 150,000 signatures — nearly double the required minimum — Wednesday in an effort to make the ballot this November. Opponents have already denounced the measure.

It's easy to think of "organic" and "non-GMO" as the best buddies of food. They sit comfortably beside each other in the same grocery stores — most prominently, in Whole Foods Market. Culturally, they also seem to occupy the same space. Both reject aspects of mainstream industrial agriculture.

In fact, the increasingly successful movement to eliminate genetically modified crops — GMOs — from food is turning out to be organic's false friend. The non-GMO label has become a cheaper alternative to organic.

Tom Paulson / Associated Press

An industry group that contributed heavily to defeat a measure that would have required labeling genetically engineered foods says it reported its activity to state watchdogs and hopes to resolve a lawsuit alleging it violated Washington's campaign finance laws.

Toby Talbot / Associated Press

Voters in Washington state have rejected a ballot measure requiring mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.

The campaign over Initiative 522 drew millions of dollars from out of state and was one of the costliest initiative fights in state history.

Austin Jenkins

 

A Washington state ballot measure requiring mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods is failing in early returns.

The campaign over Initiative 522 has been one of the costliest initiative fights in state history, drawing millions of dollars from out of state.

Associated Press

Voters are about to decide whether Washington becomes the first state in the nation to label some genetically engineered foods.

A poll last month showed Initiative 522 with a 4-point lead and 12-percent of voters still undecided.

Associated Press

Biotechnology giant Monsanto Co. on Monday dumped another $540,000 to fight a Washington state ballot measure requiring genetically engineered foods be labeled.

The group opposing Initiative 522 has now raised nearly $22 million, setting a record for the most raised by an initiative campaign in state history. Food-labeling supporters have raised about $6.8 million.

Gerry Hadden

Should consumers have the right to know what’s in the food they eat?

That’s the question at the heart of Initiative 522, which would require labeling of genetically-engineered foods and seed sold in Washington. 

Most people want the choice, but whether the initiative would actually give shoppers useful information is up for debate. One place to look for answers is the European Union, where the world’s first GE labeling requirements took effect nearly two decades ago.                 

Tom Paulson / Humanosphere

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Friday the Grocery Manufacturers Association will disclose who its donors are, as it campaigns against a ballot Initiative 522.

Ferguson's office had planned to take the industry group to court, saying it violated Washington’s campaign finance law that requires donors to be public. The Washington, D.C.-based GMA represents more than 300 companies.

Anna King

From the lush valleys north of Seattle to the orchards of the Columbia Basin, to the rolling fields between Spokane and Walla Walla, the state of Washington grows about 300 types of crops.

Ask any of those farmers about Initiative 522, and you’ll get every kind of answer. If passed this November, it would require labeling of genetically modified foods. The initiative would not ban GMOs, as they’re known, but it could have a big impact on Washington agriculture.

In the food business, everything comes down to that moment when a shopper studies a label and decides whether to buy or move on. That’s why food producers have a big interest in Washington’s Initiative 522 on the ballot next month.

Damian Dovarganes / AP Photo

It’s the hottest issue on Washington’s fall ballot: an initiative to require labeling of genetically engineered foods. But Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, says he hasn’t decided how he’ll vote on Initiative 522.

Paul Sakuma / AP Photo

Agribusiness and the food industry have pumped a record $17 million into Washington state to defeat Initiative 522, the ballot measure to require labeling of some foods and beverages with genetically engineered ingredients.

Before six months ago, it’s doubtful very many grocery shoppers in Washington had even heard the acronym GMO, much less could tell you what it stands for. Now, most people know it stands for genetically-modified organism.

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