The Instigator
eb101010
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
tlarxrocks1
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Washington State's Initiative 522 does more harm then good

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/11/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 547 times Debate No: 40365
Debate Rounds (4)
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eb101010

Pro

First round is for acceptance. I am new at this, so if I get the structure or timing of arguments in this debate wrong please tell me! I-522 is a very high-profile issue in Washington state right now on genetically engineered foods, plenty of information on it. I look forward to debating this topic!
tlarxrocks1

Con

I accept your challenge.
Debate Round No. 1
eb101010

Pro

I-522 is an initiative which, if passed, would require products containing .09% or more of genetically modified foods to label their products with the brand "genetically engineered" or GE for short. The "Yes on 522" Campaign makes it all seem simple, but it"s not.
522 is a bad idea for the following reasons:
1)The law only benefits certain business
2)Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO"s) are harmless
3)The labeling regulations make absolutely no sense

The law only benefits certain businesses. The fishermen who only fish for wild fish will find an economic boost by taking away business from the farmed fish industry which produces genetically engineered fish. However, crop farmers would have suffered by having to go through a new set of confusing, misleading, badly worded laws (which I will elaborate on later). 522 would have forced farmers and producers to spend money on new labeling, packaging, distribution, and recordkeeping actions, or go with option two " switch to more costly, specially handled, non-GMO products to keep their business in their home state: Washington. The Washington State Farm Bureau (WSFB) who represents 42,000 farmers in Washington State opposes initiative 522. If the people the initiative is claiming to help is against it, why should we support it? Another example: Yes on 522"s official website boasts that they have garnered 2,600 signatures in support of 522 by none other than wheat farmers themselves. What they don"t say is that there are 39,500 wheat farmers in the state. 36,900 wheat farmers oppose 522. The farmers themselves are against it " I hope that speaks for itself.
GMO"s have been scientifically proven to be harmless by 400 separate studies, including studies from the USDA, the FDA, and the American Medical Association (AMA). According to the AMA, "there is no scientific justification for special labeling of bioengineered foods." Also from the AMA"s official website, "Bioengineered foods have been consumed for close to 20 years, and during that time, no overt consequences on human health have been reported and/or substantiated. Consumers wishing to choose foods without bioengineered ingredients may do so by purchasing those that are labeled "USDA Organic."" There are already labels that say the same thing. Why force farmers to create an additional label that costs more to manufacture? Especially if additional costs actually cause shoppers to pay more for their groceries and giving out of state industries and mega-operations with cheaper food an edge?
For my final point, the exemptions and requirements of this law do not make any sense.
As stated by a chart on www.noon522.com, soy milk, tofu, and other soy products would be required to label their GE products. Cow"s milk, cheese, and other dairy products would be exempt. Soup sold in grocery stores would be required to be labeled. The exact same soup served in a restaurant would be exempt from the law. Fruit juice would be required to be labeled. Beer, wine, and liquor would not. Pizza sold in boxes at grocery stores would need special labels. The exact same pizza delivered in boxes would be exempt. Veggie burgers made from soy and corn would need special labels. Meat from animals fed genetically engineered grains and silage would be exempt. In addition, the manufacturers of food imported from foreign countries would simply have to claim they"re exempt. If 522 won"t even provide consumers with an accurate representation of GMO"s, what"s the point of the law?
So, I-522 is an initiative that has tricked the public with its campaign that makes the initiative seem incredibly simple. It is centered around benefitting certain businesses while significantly harming others " and consumers as a result. There are already labels that provide shoppers with sufficient information, so why is another label necessary? Especially when it doesn"t provide the public with full information about the ingredients in their food. Initiative 522 is an initiative not worth being a law because of its overall negative impact.
tlarxrocks1

Con

Although I agree with you that the exemptions you mentioned for certain food products are absolutely ridiculous, I think that people should now how their food is made and/or it came from. For the same reason that songs are labeled "explicit", movies are rated for certain age groups, and TV shows get rated by websites. People just like to know if something is right for them. If a Muslim walks into a Stop and Shop, reads the labels and sees that a meal that has ham in it, and puts it back on the shelf, do you think that the management will get pissed at them for not buying it? No. The same concept applies for GMOs: A shopper would read the label, see that it's genetically modified, and put it back. Even if eating ham isn't really bad hygiene or GMOs don't really kill you, everybody is entitled to their own beliefs. Although I personally believe that GMOs are fine to eat, people should have their suspicions acknowledged. If none of the meals were labeled, then the Muslim might resort to eating no meat at all because they didn't want to risk eating the wrong type. That might put even more companies in danger. By stating on the package/box that the food is genetically modified, the company is not necessarily testifying that its product shouldn't be bought, in fact, stating that its food is a GMO is completely objective/impartial, whatever you want to call it. From that point on, it is completely the customer's decision whether to buy the food or not. For example, everyone knows that on every individual pack of cigarettes there is a label that states that the user can get cancer(s) and complications if you are pregnant. By mentioning this, the Surgeon General is saying the truth, not speaking specifically against the purchase of cigarettes.
Debate Round No. 2
eb101010

Pro

Thank you for conceding to my point about 522"s arbitrary exemptions. You are correct, explicit songs are labeled and movies are rated to protect/direct certain age groups. But GMO products ARE currently labeled! Look for the "USDA Organic" label and you will be buying a non-GMO product. Not only is there a label that does the exact same thing but with different wording, but to add another label would be expensive to farmers and producers " especially if that expense is unnecessary.
The "Yes on 522" official website (www.yeson522.com) states that it "won"t cost a dime." But if the law had been implemented, it would have created new costs for farmers in the fields of labeling, packaging, and recordkeeping of forced GE farmers to switch to more expensive, non-GE products to keep their businesses and their homes in Washington State. Not only that, but that price carries onto us, the consumers, and cost Washingtonians hundreds extra per year on groceries. To be exact, our grocery bills would go up by $360 through 2019. After 2019, it would go up by $490 according to the Washington State Wire. AND it would have cost taxpayers millions to fund the monitoring of GE products. The designers of this bill were trying to help Washington farmers have an advantage over large corporate industries using GE products, but in reality it would put them at a disadvantage for having to sell their product for more because of new costs and labeling. 522 also discourages farmers to use crops resistant to pests and disease and requiring less pesticides and water: GE crops.
You said that a Muslim might resort to eating no meat because they"re afraid of eating the wrong type. If so, then 522 is not the answer because it might fool them. Just look at the list of exemptions I listed in my above argument In fact, I-522 would fool them into thinking that they are 100% guaranteed to avoid meat restricted from their dietary habits when in reality, by eating out or eating foods from foreign countries, a Muslim might accidentally be eating the wrong foods. You also said that the company is not necessarily testifying that its product shouldn"t be bought. The whole idea of 522 is to keep people from buying GMO"s! So not buying foods labeled "genetically engineered" would be the goal of 522. Cigarettes are a whole different topic because they are widely known to have terrible consequences on your health. Not everybody knows that GMO"s are harmless, which is the problem. I understand your concern that people have the right to know what"s in their food. And they do! They only have to look for the USDA Organic label, and they would have their answer.
tlarxrocks1

Con

tlarxrocks1 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
eb101010

Pro

eb101010 forfeited this round.
tlarxrocks1

Con

tlarxrocks1 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
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