Local retailers engage in Initiative 522 battle

October 4, 2013 by  

At the Whole Foods Market near Everett, there is no questioning the company’s stance on Initiative 522. Banners, signs, printed bags, and leaflets supporting the measure ‘Yes on 522’, are everywhere in the store, no doubt keeping print companies in the area very busy.

The initiative, which is on November’s ballot and would require most agricultural products, processed foods and seeds, produced by genetic engineering (GMOs) to be labeled as such. Proponents of the measure say it is a matter of providing consumers accurate information. Opponents say as there are no proven health hazards related to GMOs and that the labeling would be complicated costly and essentially unnecessary, as GMO free products could be labeled much to the same affect.

It is a heated battle with large amounts being spent on both sides: Donner’s soap, with donations of $1.5 million is the main supporter of measure, while food giant Monsanto, with in donations of $3.2 million, is a main opponent.

Amidst this flurry, smaller retailers are following Whole Foods lead, with more direct campaigns. At PCC organic markets in Edmonds, fliers are being passed out in support of the measure, and other smaller farms and businesses along the I-5 corridor are following suit.

Spokesperson for ‘No on 522’, Dana Biber, has few arguments with such tactics, stating:

“Proponents can share information as long as they are reporting it to the PDC (Public Disclosure Commission).”

Seattle political analyst Christian Sniderman, meanwhile, says consumers will pay attention to small campaigns launched by retailers.