Podcast, Uncategorized

Debate on Washington State Initiative 522: Labeling GMO Foods

On this inaugural (and as yet unnamed) podcast, Glenn Bristol, Daniel Koch, and Iowa Dan Falk have a robust debate on Washington State Initiative 522, which would require all GMO foods sold in the State of Washington to be labeled as such (01:02:35).

May contain some NSFW language.

Show notes:

  • Washington State Election Day 2013 is on Tuesday, November 5th. Be sure to get your ballots mailed by this day! The initiative text is available in full here.
  • In a very timely publication, a team of Italian scientists conducted a comprehensive review of 1,783 research papers, reviews, opinions, and reports published between 2002 and 2012, and published their findings in the journal Critical Review of Biotechnology. The team couldn’t find a single credible example demonstrating harm from GM foods in those who consume them.
  • Monsanto did indeed give $4 million to the No on 522 campaign. Several other corporate donors are outlined in this Seattle Times blogpost.
  • The Connecticut GMO labeling law will only go into effect if a bizarre, three-part “trigger” is met – four other states must enact similar legislation, one of the four states must share a border with CT, and the combined population of the northeastern states that enact such laws must total more than 20 million in population.
  • Roundup Ready products (the commercial name for plants genetically modified for resistance to glyphosate) in the United States include corn, soybeans, alfalfa, canola, cotton, sorghum, and sugarbeats. A strain of GM glyphosate-resistant wheat was developed by Monsanto, but ceased production in 2004 due to export concerns. However, in May 2013, this strain was found growing in a field in Oregon. More details on that here.
  • More on the FDA’s definition of “Gluten Free” here.
  • World Health Organization (WHO) informational page on GMO foods.
  • More on the GMO corn rat study below:
  • Adoption of GE crops in the United States, 1996-2012
  • The two Monsanto lawsuits we referred to:
    • Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser
    • Bowman v. Monsanto Co.
      Correction: We slightly mischaracterized this case – the original seeds were purchased as commodities, not animal feed. Bowman argued that the patent only covered the initial purchase, and that harvesting and planting the seeds a second time for the next year was not a violation of Monsanto’s patent (an argument known as “patent exhaustion”). This argument was rejected by the US Supreme Court, which ruled in Monsanto’s favor.
  • Music for this episode is Bob Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm” and John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy“.

Listen above, or download: Debate on Washington State Initiative 522: Labeling GMO Foods (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-Flash browser)


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