Major seed companies such as Monsanto have been actively campaigning against the initiative. The Monsanto Company is the biggest seed distributer in the US. Based out of Missouri, they have been genetically modifying seeds for over a century. While some would argue that humans have been genetically modifying plants to fit their needs since the beginning of agriculture, many worry that the direct genetic modification of plants favors mass production over quality, which results in plants’ loss of nutrients. The biggest controversy over Monsanto, however, is the fact that they have copyrighted and sterilized their seeds. This means that farmers must continually buy new seeds each year instead of harvesting the seeds normally. Farms are then dependent on the genetically engineered seeds of Monsanto. According to Seattle Times, Monsanto has been pouring over $4.6 million into fighting I-522. One cannot help but wonder if they are trying to hide something.
Recently, the campaign that has been working against I-522 came out with a study that reported that “the average family food bill (will) rise $490 a year under I-522.” This statistic comes from the concern that the added regulation would increase the cost of local farmers who would be required to pay for certification and labeling. However, most newspapers have found this study not credible. While this may be true for families who choose to buy only food labeled as Non-GMO, shoppers will still be allowed to choose for themselves which products to buy. Another worry is that much the Non-GMO labels will be misleading like the ‘legally’ organic and ‘natural’ labeled foods that require only a certain percentage of the product to be ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ before being labeled as such. Editorialist and former interim dean of Washington State University College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences R. James Cook have stated that “I-522 is so poorly written that it would require many foods to be labeled as ‘genetically engineered,’ even when they’re not.” While there may be legal loopholes that a lawyer’s eye would be able to detect, the proposed Initiative (click on the link!) seems to be fairly clear and succinct.
WSA parents and local farmers, Anne and Peter Weber are the owners of Farmhouse Organics. Recently on their Facebook page, they wrote about where they stand on I522:
For me it is crystal clear, it doesn't have anything to do with the wording of the initiative. Give consumers the choice. It is just a label like "gluten free" or "certified organic". The question I have is why certain companies like Monsanto are putting so much money toward defeating this campaign. If you are so proud of your products LABEL THEM!