Vote ‘yes’ on I-522, GMO labeling


A recent letter to the editor gave you reasons to vote “no ” on Initiative 522. Here’s why you should vote “yes.”

It’s about labeling. That’s all.

Don’t companies change the messages on their packaging all the time? I-522 would require the package (let’s say of cereal) to say “contains GMOs, just like the packages must say when companies ship their products to 64 different countries.

I just bought a box of cereal that said “contains No GMOs.” It’s about choice. If GMOs don’t bother you, then by all means ignore the presence or absence of them.

Here’s why I prefer to eat as few GMOs as possible: Monsanto’s patented Roundup Ready seeds are genetically modified to make corn, soybeans and canola impervious to the harmful effects of glyphosate (the broad-spectrum systemic herbicide in Roundup), but weeds are killed.

The bad news is that weeds become tolerant to a particular level of glyphosate so more and more of it must be used. Eventually, this chemical doesn’t work at all and you need to use something else to kill the glyphosate tolerant weeds.

Monsanto is now touting 2,4-D.

Some peer-reviewed scientific opinion is convinced that glyphosate is not a benign substance but, in fact, long-term ingestion leads to serious health consequences. (

Monsanto and DuPont have spent over $8 million so far in Washington state to defeat I-522. You can be sure they will keep doubling down the amount until they think they will win.

The anti-labeling letter stated that, “They have been tested by government regulatory agencies and found to be safe for consumption.” This is the same government that drug its feet on accepting responsibility for Agent Orange exposure and Gulf War Syndrome.

If you want the choice to look at a package and see whether it contains GMOs, then vote “yes” on I-522, the GMO labeling initiative.

Norm Osterman

Walla Walla


PearlY 1 year, 11 months ago

The scientific evidence is overwhelmingly against there being any RATIONAL basis for labeling as demanded in I-522. The animosity toward GE is therefore irrational. Private businesses should not be ordered to engage in speech they disagree with (putting labels on their products) because of the irrationality of others. To analogize, this is the equivalent of ordering businesses to put on their products that they are "non-kosher" and "non-halal" if they haven't been through the requisite religious processes. It would be an accurate statement, but it would be forcible speech based on non-rational (religious) grounds.

Moreover, the requirements of I-522 will have a disproportionately heavy impact on smaller food producers, driving more of them out of business and further concentrating food production, which makes the nation less resilient to food crises, reduces competition and raises prices.

Gaia-worshippers are entitled to their opnions, and there are businesses who cater to them, voluntarily labeling their products, but no business should be forced to cater to their demands.


chicoli 1 year, 11 months ago

My understanding is that all products must have labels. It does not cost that much to add a few words to the current label saying that such product contains this or that ingredient. As Mr. Osterman pointed, it's a matter of choice for an informed customer to purchase the product or not. But if Monsanto and DuPont ( hardky small food producers) are afraid to give that choice, that's another issue. On the other hand it could be irrelevant, for example, to label Tabasco as "hot" unless you suffer from indigestion or hemorroids. Any way Tabasco is so delicious, mostly in a good pozole, that nobody cares, one way or the other. There!


PearlY 1 year, 11 months ago

Paco, how would you feel if you were required to label your product according to the majority's religious viewpoint, even though you did not agree with that religion? I hope you would agree that this is not the business of the government to require, even under the guise of "choice".

The consumer who fears GE products has a choice already. There are producers who are willing to cater to them, and label their products in accordance to the consumer's superstitions. That consumer can avoid all products that refuse to cater to them. After all, it's not like consumers have some Constitutional right to buy Monsanto or DuPont products.

But the business owners have some right to choice as well, and that would include the choice not to put labels on their products that are based on superstition and not science.

Personally, I think Tabasco is good for indigestion. Thankfully, don't know about the other.


kfarrens 1 year, 11 months ago

Funny how the fear mongers are for this initiative. No where in it is Monsanto, or Roundup mentioned, or DuPont! As a farmer I understand how G.M.O.s and Herbicides work. We change the type of herbicide every year or two to combat resistance, and here is a newsflash, we are using ounces per acre of these products. And they are not Trans located to the seed. For instance all Roundup does is turn off the pants ability to Photosensitize. There are more harmful carcinogens in one of your morning cups of coffee than in a full day of eating G.M.O. products. I wish Norm and Paco would have read the Initiative before making such foolish statements. By the way I would be more than happy for both of you to come visit my farm to see how it is really done. You might learn something.


chicoli 1 year, 11 months ago

Kfarrens, you're right, I have not read the full initiative, but I will soon. Regardless, my point about adding a few words to the current label with the idea of expanding on the information about the "content" of the product ought not be a bad one.

I have great respect for farmers as my grandfather, my sister and uncles own coffee farms in Puerto Rico. As an adolencent I earned a few dollars working on the plantations to pay for college. I never saw a label on anything until many years later. Now, as a consumer, I appreciate all the information I can get a hold of! Therefor, I'd love to accept your gentile invitation to visit your farm. I'm sure I'll learn quite a bit from the real deal!


PearlY 1 year, 11 months ago

Again, Paco, before labels for "information" should be required by law, the "information" should be based on rationality and science, not superstition, no matter how popular the superstition might be. ("genteel" - polite; "gentile" - non-Jewish or non-Mormon.)

Kfarrens, I'd love to visit your farm too; even though I already agree with you, I'm sure I'd learn a lot.


kfarrens 1 year, 11 months ago

Paco, I would love for you to come see the farm. It would be interesting to hear about youre familys farms in Puerto Rico. I dont mind labeling, but this initiative has far to many exemptions. For example a Pizza sold at a grocery store would need to be labeled but one bought and delevered would not. I would think that they should both reqire the same labeling. Many of my organic faming friends dont care for this initiative.


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