GMOs and Crop Biodiversity Loss in Washington State, USA


Washington, a state in the north west corner of the United States, put forth a bill that would require all seeds and foods that were Genetically Engineered or from Genetically Modified Organisms to be labeled by 2015.

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Basic Data
NameGMOs and Crop Biodiversity Loss in Washington State, USA
CountryUnited States of America
SiteWashington, United States
Accuracy of LocationLOW country/state level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Specific CommoditiesLand
Fruits and Vegetables
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsIn the United States approximately 80% of processed foods come from genetically engineered agricultural products, for example 88% of the corn and soy planted in the United States is genetically modified.
Level of Investment (in USD)8.4 million USD raised in support of labeling Genetically Engineered foods, 22 million in opposition to labeling
Type of PopulationUnknown
Potential Affected Population6.8 million people (population of Washington)
Start Date01/01/2012
Relevant government actorsFood and Drug Administration, United States Congress, Washington State Government, Washington State Department of Ecology
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersYes on 522 (, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps and the Center for Food Safety in Washington, D.C.
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingNeighbours/citizens/communities
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Boycotts of companies-products
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Health ImpactsPotential: Other Health impacts
OtherUnknown long term health problems related to the consumption of GMOs
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Potential: Land dispossession
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseStrengthening of participation
Development of AlternativesLots of support from both community, state and nationwide groups of producing new legislation for transparency. This include support from environmentally conscious corporations.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.No, although there is much support throughout the country there are still large industries that are able to be very politically influencing. There is momentum that could produce a success in the future.
Sources and Materials

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Initiative 522 campaign
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Washington State voters rejecting initiative to label genetically modified foods
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GMO Labeling Fight Moves to Washington State
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Other Documents

522 campaign advertisement Source:
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Other CommentsThis is one of the top 40 influential environmental justice cases in the United States identified from a national survey of environmental activists, scholars and other leaders by graduate students at the University of Michigan.
Meta Information
ContributorSara Orvis, [email protected], University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment
Last update04/01/2016