The high profile battle over Proposition 37 is now officially over. The California voter initiative, also known as the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, would have required certain raw and processed foods that have or may have been “entirely or partially produced with genetic engineering” to be labeled as such. However, California officials reported early on Wednesday morning that voters had rejected the ballot initiative, 53% to 47%.
Despite Proposition 37’s failure in California, GMO labeling issues seem like they may be here to stay. Earlier this year, two Washington legislators introduced bipartisan GMO labeling bills in the Washington State House and Senate. The Senate bill (SB 6298), sponsored by Senator Maralyn Chase (D-Shoreline – 32nd District), and House bill (HB 2637), sponsored by Representative Cary Condotta (R-Wenatchee – 12th District), were identical. Although the bill was referred to the respective Washington State House and Senate Agriculture committees for hearings, legislators took no action.
Later, on June 29, 2012, Washington citizens Chris and Leah McManus filed a proposed Initiative to the Legislature that would require most agricultural commodities, processed foods, and seed and seed stocks, if produced using genetic engineering as defined, to be labeled as genetically engineered when offered for retail sale. In order to force the Washington State Legislature to reconsider GMO labeling legislation, the proposed Initiative 522 must first be certified by obtaining at least 241,153 registered voter signatures no later than 5:00 PM on January 4, 2013. Afterward, should Washington lawmakers fail to enact some sort of GMO labeling law, we might just see another GMO labeling initiative go to the voters in November 2013. would require most raw agricultural commodities, processed foods, and seeds and seed stocks, if produced using genetic engineering as defined, to be labeled as genetically engineered when offered for retail sale.