(NaturalNews) Election Day may not have turned out nationally as many people may have wished, but a number of local issues, from our perspective, did quite well, and one of them was a measure in San Juan County, Wash., to ban the growing of genetically modified crops.
According to local reports, Washington state residents passed Initiative Measure No. 2012-4, which bans the growth of GM foods. The language of the initiative makes it illegal to "propagate, cultivate, raise or grow plants, animals and other organisms which have been genetically modified" in San Juan County.
The measure still permits the growth of hybrid organisms and GMOs grown by healthcare providers and researchers only, as long as they are in secure, controlled environments.
The measure will affect mostly local farmers, who were largely supportive of it, according to local reports. The initiative; however, won't affect GMO products sold in local food stores.
'We as citizens deserve a choice'
The measure comes with some teeth as well: Violators can be charged with the crime of being a public nuisance and fined for the first offense; second violations will be considered misdemeanors with a third violation a "gross misdemeanor," local Fox affiliate q13fox.com reported.
One group pushing the initiative, GMO-Free San Juans, said, "GMO's are a corporate intrusion we can't afford if we seek a healthy food system. We as citizens deserve the choice."
Our concerns are increasingly being shared by millions of other Americans all over the country, spurred in large part by the results of successive studies which have linked the consumption of GM foods to a variety of conditions ranging from organ failure to sterility. Currently, some 80 percent of foods in U.S. grocery stores and markets contain GMO ingredients; as Americans learn more about them, they are pushing, as we are, to get GMO products labeled.
"In most of Europe and other developed countries around the world there are significant restrictions or outright bans on GMOs because they're not considered proven safe," says The Organic Center blog.
"Approving this initiative would show that the residents of San Juan County are elitists, ignorant of the benefits of technological advances, and uncaring about the planet and its inhabitants," opponents of the initiative argued, according to the San Juan County voter's guide.
Growing demand for labeling
In June, ABC News reported that 90 percent of Americans - a near-unanimous figure - approve of GMO labeling. "Such near-unanimity in public opinion is rare," said the report.
In addition, 57 percent said they would be less likely to buy foods that are labeled as genetically modified, the survey - conducted exclusively for ABC News - found. Therein lies the rub for food companies; by labeling their products, they would actually be steering consumers away from their GM food products and commodities.
"The image problem of genetically modified food is underscored by contrast to organic foods. While only five percent of Americans say they'd be more likely to buy a food labeled as genetically modified, 52 percent say they'd be more likely to buy food that's labeled as having been raised organically," said the news service.
What's more, the survey found that GM foods are especially unpopular among women; that's a problem in and of itself, since women do most of the family shopping.
Nearly two-thirds of women - 62 percent - believe GM foods are unsafe. Women disagree with men on this by a two to one margin.