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I-522 backers turning in signatures today to require disclosure on genetically modified foods

Post by Brad Shannon / The Olympian on Jan. 3, 2013 at 10:32 am |
January 28, 2013 6:28 pm

Backers of an initiative to require disclosures of genetic alterations of commercially sold food say they’ll bring in signatures to state elections official today Initiative 522. (click here for full text) is an initiative to the Legislature, which means it would first go to the Legislature for possible adoption.

Tim Eyman, the professional initiative promoter, also is bringing in signatures this morning for I-517, which he says will protect the initiative process. A background story on it is here and the full text is here.

Friday is the deadline for filing signatures for measures to the Legislature. The petition-filing period begins Saturday for new initiatives to the people.

I-522 backer Chris McManus the Office of the Secretary of State he plans to submit 340,000 signatures at 1 p.m., which based on the historical invalidity rates of ballot measures should be more than enough to qualify. By law, the measure needs at least 241,153 valid voter signatures to be considered.

Assuming I-522 and I-517 qualify, and that lawmakers choose not to enact either one, each would go to the November ballot for consideration by voters statewide. Lawmakers could also refer a companion or alternative initiative. The Associated Press reports that California voters rejected a food disclosure measure last year.

Dave Ammons of the elections agency said in a blog post that I-522 “would require most raw agricultural commodities, processed foods, and seeds and seed stocks, if produced using genetic engineering as defined, to be labeled as genetically engineered when offered for retail sale.”

Text of the measure asserts that 49 nations have laws requiring disclosure of genetically modified foods and that the lack of disclosure on U.S. crops is interfering with this country’s ability to export crops to some countries. The measure’s preamble also says the public “wants to know if their food was produced using genetic engineering” and that “Without disclosure, consumers of genetically engineered food unknowingly may violate their own dietary and religious restrictions.”

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