Debate continues over whether to label genetically engineered food

SEATTLE -- More than 60 countries outside the United States require food suppliers to use "GMO" labels on genetically-modified foods. And if the Yes on Initiative 522 group gets their way, it would become law in Washington as well.

The GMO food fight is gaining momentum and money. The NO on 522 group just raked in another $3 million Wednesday, bringing its campaign contributions up to $11 million compared to the 'Yes' camp's $4.5 million, according to Responsible Choices.

But supporters, who believe consumers have the right to know if their food is genetically modified and labeled such, got a different kind boost Wednesday with support from Jerry Greenfield, the co-founder of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream.

Flanked by local businesses including Whole Foods, Theo Chocolate and PCC, Greenfield insisted the 'No' camp's argument that GMO labeling costs will be passed onto consumers is overblown.

"We have to make adjustments to our packages all the time," Greenfield said. "Whether it's changes to ingredients, allergens -- it's a normal course of business."

But Brad Harwood, the media coordinator for the No on 522 campaign, says farmers would have to run two separate farms separating out which foods were genetically engineered.

A statewide poll found a majority of voters will likely vote in favor of 522.

"They keep food companies honest about what they're putting in their food," said Trudy Bialic, public affairs director for PCC.

But Harwood says the voters have the right to know the truth.

"Truth is, GE foods are perfectly safe," he said.

I-522 will be on the November ballot. A similar measure failed in California.