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Washington Considers GMO Labels on Food Products

New Initiative Calls for Labels on Food Products Listing GMO Ingredients

New legislation in Washington state would require items containing genetically engineered ingredients to be packaged with special labels for food products. Initiative 522, which will be voted upon on Nov. 5, would require the use of custom food labels for products containing ingredients that proponents say may be harmful.

In an interview with USA Today, Elizabeth Larter, the communications director for the Yes on 522 campaign, said Washington residents have a right to know what is in their food.

"This campaign is not about whether GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are good or bad; this is really just providing more information for consumers," Larter said.

Food Product Labels Initiative Sparks Debate While advocates of Initiative 522 claim the requirement to place GMO information on food product labels would provide Washington residents more transparency, opponents state the mandate would mislead consumers to believe genetically engineered foods are unhealthy or unsafe, which science hasn't proven.

According to USA Today, five major groups, including the Grocery Manufacturers Association, are supporting efforts to defeat the measure and have already raised $17.2 million to do so.