The purpose of this article is to offer a rebuttal to the anti-labeling commercials developed by No on 522 in Washington State. I mentioned in an earlier article my frustration with Yes on 522′s lack of urgency to inspire their followers to donate to Yes on 522 . I believed they had a national audience of passionate labeling activists to draw from, and I even created a video that was sent to the campaign but ignored.
Now, with the vote on I-522 quickly approaching, the well funded No on 522 campaign has already released four of what will be many commercials to defeat the initiative. Unlike Yes on 522, they understand that money can be effectively used to defeat I-522, and Yes on 522 has an uphill battle due to their lack of leadership and poor fundraising goals.
It’s not reason to give up just yet. This article offers a rebuttal to the often misleading messages of No on 522′s commercials, and will be updated occasionally as new ads are released. Bookmark this page to use as a resource and send it to everyone you know in Washington State. Let’s take a look at some of the commercials.
October 27th update: The No on 522 has removed some commercials from Youtube after many sites like this have claimed misleading information. The 2nd video will currently play all of their posted videos.
New video added October 27, 2013
In this embarrassing misleading commercial by former Washington State Attorney General Ken Eikenberry, he misrepresents that meat and dairy will not be labeled. Meat that has been genetically modified like the unreleased genetically modified salmon – a meat – will have to be labeled under I-522. If a cow, pig, or any poultry has not been genetically modified, it won’t be labeled.
I’m glad Washington State now has an Attorney General that cares about their citizens, as evidenced by the recent lawsuit filed against Grocery Manufacturers Association for illegally hiding donations made to the No campaign. This is a commercial you can absolutely conclude as being dishonest, and shame on Ken Eikenberry for taking part.
See my article on why I believe farmers should endorse Yes on 522
Brenda Alford, a third generation farmer from Pasco, Washington begins the commercial stating “the initiative will create an unveven playing field for Washington State farmers, and will also hurt consumers and taxpayers because of what it would cost to set up a completely different labeling system.” Text is added to the verbiage, stating that I-522 would cost farmers, producers, and consumers millions according to a consulting firm’s 29 page report.
I’ve already mentioned this tactic in my Yes on 522 Common Sense Answers to Questions article, so I urge you to read it. Just as in California’s Proposition 37, the cost argument fear tactic is going to be used to confuse uncommitted voters. I enjoy analyzing the fear tactics, so let’s see what we can uncover.
In the summary of the No campaign’s funded report from the Washington Research Council, we find this statement. “We estimate that the initial start-up costs to comply with I-522’s Washington-only regulations for farmers and food manufacturers would be $264 million.” Now that’s a nice big number, isn’t it. How did they come up with it? How could it possibly cost $264 million to set up a system of labeling?
Farmers will have to sign a 10 cent piece of paper stating the certification of their product. This certification can come from the seed supplier, and would then be delivered to the storage facility. This is not a costly procedure. Food producers would have to create an addition to a label that’s changed on a regular basis to state, “this product contains genetically modified organisms.” That took me 10 seconds. Additionally, it’s a known fact that labels are changed often to market products differently. A grocery store would have to write up a card to place in front of GMO foods like zucchini. How did they arbitrarily come up with this $264 million figure?
The report uses an argument that segregation costs would be significant. This is a complete fabrication, as segregation is already in place. GMO and Non-GMO products are not stored together, and issues like transportation are already included in industry costs. Organic food processors already incur costs to regulate the production process. As an example, Silk – Dean Food’s organic subsidiary – already has facilities in place to monitor and control the organic process. Because of this, I can’t see an added cost for already implemented procedures.
It is worth adding that one of the many problems associated with GMOs is storage. As an example, if half the crops are GMO, and the other half are not, storage facilities would have to separate the crops. Most storage warehouses are incapable of this without incurring a huge cost to build more facilities. This also creates a transportation problem, as you have to segregate the crops in delivery, too.
This is one of many reasons why I believe the solution to the GMO controversy is for farmers to reject GMO technology. It creates additional problems like this in addition to the many health and environmental concerns being associated with GMO food. Read my article Why All Farmers Should Endorse Yes on 522 for further analysis on this.
The report goes on to say, “78% of the food that would be required to be labeled ‘genetically engineered’ under Prop 37 does not contain reliably detectable levels of transgenic DNA or proteins because of production processes that either chemically or physically break down transgenic.” What the misleading report is really trying to say is that food processors can currently hide the fact that they use genetically modified organisms, and don’t want to conduct costly tests to prove this. They are saying, “We just cook all nutrition out of our products – what’s the problem?” Obviously, this argument does not hold up, either.
As the No on Proposition 37 campaign claimed, the threat of potential litigation is again used to induce fear. Again, the system is already designed with the possibility of litigation, as organic producers have to follow procedures to certify anything organic. Growers of non-GMO crops can’t combine with GMO crops. If anyone in the industry doesn’t comply, they can be sued. That’s just a reality.
I can understand the GMO food processor’s argument of increased regulatory costs, but only if they try to hide GMO ingredients. An argument that “testing” would be expensive is applicable only if they try to hide GMO ingredients, correct? If they “know” a product is GMO, why would they have to test it to prove it’s not? They just have to label it. Period. There is no real cost in that, and testing costs are only a procedure to hide from the consumers what they want to know – That the product contains GMOs.
If a manufacturer wants to claim a product to be non-gmo, this article from Organic Consumers Association adds some relevant information. In this quote from the article, it says,” When developing products containing ingredients likely to come from genetically modified sources, we have the supplier of the product in question perform the necessary research to provide documentation that the suspect ingredients are from non-GMO sources.
This documentation is in the form of affidavits, identity-preserved certification of seed stock, and third-party lab results from testing of the ingredients in question.”
As I already mentioned, if a product is produced using GMO corn as an example, these procedures are not necessary unless trying to hide this fact. I-522 would simply say “label it because it contains GMO corn.” If a producer wants to claim non-GMO, it is only logical that extra procedures would have to take place in order to protect the consumer and the retailer selling the product. Systems like this are already in place if a producer wants to sell a non-GMO or organic product.
Interestingly, the misleading report goes on to say the following in regard to regulations. “It would require the Department of Health to hire approximately 200 full – time equivalent employees at a cost of $22.5 million annually.” If this is accurate – which it is not – I would suggest applying for one of these $112,500 per year government jobs! Now we’re really having fun uncovering statements from obviously misleading reports, aren’t we? You can still analyze this a step further. Let’s say this figure is accurate. With 6.8 million Washington State residents, the astounding costs of paying the grossly exaggerated $22.5 million per year to state employees would be – $3.30 PER CITIZEN!
Because of all of these ridiculous statements, the fear tactic of food cost increases being passed on to the consumer is again being used to confuse the public. As I’ve already stated, it is hard to find any significant cost increases when analyzing real facts. Additionally, the consumer would realistically benefit from “lower costs” on organic products because labeling would increase demand for organic products.
The natural outcome is lower prices for organic food as competition increases. In other words, the organic subsidiaries of corporations like Dean Foods will have to finally charge a fair price for their organic offerings, and the price spread between organic and non-organic products would shrink. Could the prices of GMO products increase? Possibly, but I believe it would be insignificant.
Another question you must answer is ,”What is the cost of healthcare?” If Americans begin eating better, our absurd $2.7 trillion healthcare expense would quickly be reduced because we wouldn’t be as sick, and those savings are directly passed on to the consumer. This is a very “real” point you will never hear advertised on either side of the debate.
Here is a report from Europe stating they didn’t see price increases when labeling laws were enacted there. You can also read this 48 page report released during California’s Proposition 37 to verify that consumers will likely see no increases in prices as a result of the labeling.
Advertisements like these are professionally designed and produced to confuse uninformed voters. It will work unless you take it upon yourself to share real information like this. Send this article to your fellow citizens if you live in Washington State. At least they will have a chance to discover what lies ahead in the misleading campaign coming soon from the No on 522 campaign. It is why California’s proposition 37 was defeated, and unless everyone participates, Yes on 522 will be defeated, too. Don’t let it happen!
Just for fun, why don’t we look at another No on 522 commercial:
As of October 27, this commercial was removed from Youtube!
In an identical tactic – see Prop 37 commercial – used in California, they enlist in this commercial the help of Dr Peter Marsh, the “former” president of The Washington State Medical Association and member of The American Medical Association. The intent of using unethical physicians to promote the defeat of I-522 is embarrassing. Thousands of ethical physicians from around the world have taken measures to eliminate GMOs from the diets of their patients, and many are very well aware of the safety concerns. As the AMA did in Proposition 37, they are stating, “there is no scientific justification for special labeling.”
The AMA is an organization clouded with criticism. From an executive summary of a report they published comes this statement. “Bioengineered foods have been consumed for close to 20 years, and during that time, no overt consequences on human health have been reported and/or substantiated in the peer-reviewed.”
Are they kidding me? Since the introduction of genetically modified organisms into the food supply, diseases like diabetes, autism, obesity, allergies, and a host of other problems have led to a health epidemic in America, and many ethical physicians point to our food as the cause. Supporting a non-labeling stance is unethical at best – criminal at worst. It’s embarrassing to say the least.
Between 1998 and 2011, the AMA spent an incredible $264 million on lobbyists, and political positions throughout its history have often been controversial According to this article, only about 17% of the 1.2 million doctors and medical students in the U.S. are members of the AMA, and their membership has been declining. It’s obvious that many physicians don’t agree with the mission of this organization.
It is my opinion that health organizations like AMA have a huge conflict of interest when taking stances against labeling. You can’t argue the fact that the healthcare industry benefits from a sick population. With half the population on prescription drugs, you can accept we are sick. If the entire population took care of themselves, imagine what would happen to the profits of this industry.
Go ahead and simply ignore what the physician in the white coat says in the commercial, and seek out ethical physicians that are joining the fight to label genetically modified foods. Many ethical physicians have chosen to care about you over the profit and lobbying motives of groups like the American Medical Association. Seek them out. Ask your physician what their stance is on genetically modified organisms. Choose those who recommend avoiding GMOs. You’ll probably find out that you’re going to be paying a lot fewer visits to you physician because of this!
I also recommend a number of documentaries to educate yourself on the problems within the healthcare industry. Escape Fire looks at the profit motives of the healthcare industry, FoodMatters,explores healing with food and alternative therapies, Genetic Roulette explores genetically modified health problems, and The Beautiful Truth and Burzinski look at proven cancer cures that have been ignored by the medical community. All of them can be found on my documentary page here. My ebook America’s Health Syndrome is also an excellent introduction to the problems related to the food and healthcare industries.
New analysis added on 9/22/2013
As of October 27, the No campaign has removed this commercial from Youtube!
In my opinion, this is a mostly honest commercial. It is produced to create confusion with the initiative, with the hope that voters would want a better initiative drawn up in the future, but you can’t discount the facts. The dishonest statement is made in regard to meat, as genetically modified salmon would have to be labeled. We will discuss this shortly.
To begin, I want to point out that the No on 522 is using an argument in their campaign that two-thirds of all foods won’t be labeled, making I-522 a confusing initiative. This argument is very misleading. Because meat is currently not genetically modified, you can’t possibly label it, and this becomes part of this two-thirds argument. Cheese, milk, and any other dairy product fall into this category, too. Restaurants are exempt. Alcohol is exempt.
I-522 is designed to protect consumers when making choices on buying processed and canned foods, where most GMOs are found. It will also inform customers when GMO vegetables like sweet corn, zucchini, yellow squash, and papaya are sold. Most experts claim that up to 80% of all products in grocery stores contain GMOs. So when you shop at a grocery store – where most of your food is purchased – you can rest assured that the two-thirds argument offered by the No on 522 campaign is not accurate.
Let’s get back to the commercial. It begins with the case that the initiative doesn’t comply with national standards. This is actually a positive reason to vote Yes on 522, because national standards protect corporations over the people. We should all know this by now. It is why states have to go through the process of labeling at the state level – because the federal government won’t.
The commercial goes on to compare the fact that you have to label soy milk, but not animal milk. This is true, because animals at this time aren’t genetically modified. Soy milk, which comes directly from genetically modified soy, would require a label. This is another reason to vote Yes on 522. It means all junk GMO products from high fructose corn syrup to canola oil would have to be labeled. That is a positive. I personally wish rBGH in milk was included, but I’ll just continue to avoid milk for that reason. You should, too.
Next, a weak case is made that juice made with genetically modified organisms require labeling, but alcohol does not. Again, I can live with this. Alcohol is classified as a powerful barbiturate and creates plenty of problems, including slowing your metabolism as your body tries to eliminate the poisons.. Anyone should know the problems associated with abuse and drunken driving. It becomes a choice whether or not to abuse yourself or others by drinking it. I do wish it was included in labeling, but I can live without the requirement.
Bread made with genetically modified organisms requiring labeling is then compared to cheese. Again, because cheese comes from animals that are not genetically modified, it’s a weak point.
The last point made is that pet food would require labeling, but meat for human consumption would not. This is only partially true. When genetically modified salmon enter the market, they will have to be labeled, and that’s a very good thing. It’s good news for your favorite pet, too!
To verify this, you have to read the definition of food under RCW 69.04.008. Here is the definition: The term “food” means (1) articles used for food or drink for people or other animals, (2) bottled water, (3) chewing gum, and (4) articles used for components of any such article.
I don’t agree with Yes on 522′s current stance on this. I believe they are incorrect in stating that pet labeling will not be required, and I’ve asked them to look in to this. They are quoting the definition of food from RCW 69.07, which applies to the licensing of food processors. I believe labeling of foods is identified in RCW 69.04, which deals with intrastate commerce in food. I’ll report back if I hear from them or if someone clarifies this for me.
Sept.25 – Yes on 522 has quit referencing RCW 69.07, and are quoting from Sec. 1 (18) of I-522 and RCW 70 as their reasoning for claiming pet foods are exempt. It appears both sides have a valid argument. I believe RCW 69.04 will prevail, which is a positive for any labeling advocate. We will have to wait and see how this unfolds, but l hope pet foods are labeled. This issue was effectively used by the no campaign in California to challenge the initiative as being poorly written. Any passed initiative has to go through a process of cleaning up as reported in this article, so this argument should not sway anyone’s opinion in regard to food labeling.
This is a very weak commercial, but it will sway uninformed voters to the no side. This is why you have to be an advocate for labeling and share articles like this!
New analysis added October, 21, 2013
This commercial is another embarrassment to the medical industry. Obviously, this Pediatrician allows her patients – children – to consume GMOs. If you are a Mother, ask your Pediatrician important questions like, “Do you think I should feed my child formulas and foods containing GMOs?” If the answer is yes, simply walk out of the door and go find an educated and honest Pediatrician who cares about your child’s health.
Don’t miss our article on Yes On 522 – Common Sense Answers To Questions and all of our articles on the upcoming I-522 vote in Washington State to label genetically modified foods. Vote Yes on 522 and do you part to continue the movement to label genetically modified foods!
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