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Seattle's Puget Community Coops Join Push for New State Law Requiring GMO Labeling

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page and our Washington News page.

SEATTLE (AP) - PCC Natural Markets has joined the fight to force food companies to label products that include genetically modified organisms, a practice found in much of Europe and in Australia, China and Japan.

The Seattle-based grocery chain said it will spend $100,000 to help collect signatures in support of legislative Initiative 522, which would require labeling in Washington of food with GMOs. The company also has launched an in-store signature-gathering campaign.

By early January, the I-522 campaign needs to submit 241,153 valid signatures to the state, at which point the initiative would go to the Legislature. If lawmakers do not enact the initiative as law in some form - and they usually don't - it would go before voters in November 2013.

Agribusiness giant Monsanto and others have spent more than $32 million to oppose a similar measure on the California ballot this fall. That's $10 million more than Costco Wholesale spent to support a successful liquor-privatization initiative in Washington in November 2011.

Still, the measure in California appears to be winning. A recent poll by USC Dornsife and the Los Angeles Times found 61 percent of registered voters there support the GMO-labeling proposition.

"Don't make any mistake, this is chemical companies" opposing labeling, said Trudy Bialic, director of public affairs at PCC. "It's the same people who brought us Agent Orange, DDT and PCBs, and they're saying now, 'Trust us with your food.' And people are saying, 'No, we want to know what's in it.' "

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