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You are here: Home ›› Advocacy ›› Initiative 522 FAQs

Initiative 522 FAQs

Learn more about Seattle Tilth's position on I-522.

Yes on I-522What is a GMO?

  • A Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) is an organism, plant or animal, which has been genetically engineered in a laboratory environment to incorporate genetic elements that are not inherent to that organism. Genetic engineering is sometimes referred to as “GE.”
 

What is the difference between non-GMO and organic?

  • Non-GMO foods are organisms which have been produced by traditional means such as breeding and hybridization.
  • Organically produced foods may not be raised using any synthetic substances, chemical fertilizers or irradiation. They may not use antibiotics or synthetic hormones and may not contain genetically modified organisms.

Can GMO foods be considered organic?

 

How is genetic engineering different from hybridization?

  • A Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) is an organism, plant or animal, which has been genetically engineered in a laboratory environment to incorporate genetic elements that are not inherent to that organism.
  • Hybridization is the process by which farmers selectively cross breed plants of different varieties, through natural (or assisted) pollination, in order to produce a new plant that has desirable traits from both parent plants. Hybridization is usually followed by many generations of selection in order to achieve the desired traits and weed out the undesired traits. Foods like pluots, nectarcots, tangelos and seedless watermelons are products of hybridization. For more information on the difference between genetic engineering and hybridization check out this informative article by Emily Main on Rodale.com.

 

What are the major concerns about GMOs?

Though GMOs might seem like a beneficial solution for stressed food systems, there are significant drawbacks and unknown consequences that might have a negative impact on the environment, consumers and the economy. A few examples:
  • Some GMOs are specifically designed to withstand increased pesticides and herbicides or to produce their own pesticide (like Roundup Ready corn which produces Bt Toxin) which could have negative health effects, as well as a negative impact on the environment from increased chemical contamination.
  • Local farmers can not ensure that their crops are non-GMO if seeds are not being labeled accordingly. The Wall Street Journal reports on possible mislabeling after Washington farmer’s crops are rejected for containing GMOs.
  • Farmers growing GMO crops face possible contamination of naturally cultivated foods by GMO crops.
  • Reliance on GMO products undermines biodiversity, which is a fundamental component of a healthy environment.
  • Patent laws allow companies to control GMO seed stock, preventing farmers from saving seeds and redistributing the control of our food supply into the hands of corporations.
  • As reported on BBC.com, there is potential for genetically modified salmon to escape hatcheries and cross-breed with wild fish such as the brown trout, and out-compete its unmodified cousins for food, which could have a damaging effect on the ecological balance. 
  • A report written by Michael Antoniou (found on earthopensource.com), discusses research finding that genetically modified foods have the potential to introduce additional proteins that may incite allergic reactions. Nobody knows the long term effects of GMOs on human health.

 

Who is funding the No on I-522 campaign?

  • Large agribusiness corporations are funding the campaign entirely, including; Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Grocery Manufacturers Association, Bayer Cropscience and Dow Agrosciences LLC. The average donation to the No campaign is $2 million while the average donation to the Yes on 522 campaign is $25 from more than 7,000 donors, mostly in-state.

Go back to the I-522 page.

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