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GMO labeling would empower consumers | Letters
Washington state voters will soon decide whether foods made with genetically modified ingredients, or GMOs, should be labeled.
Products containing GMO can carry introduced genetic material from bacteria, viruses, plants or animals.
Unfortunately, opponents of Initiative 522, the initiative mandating such labeling, are promoting false claims that they hope will confuse the issue and lead to its defeat.
Manufacturers are currently required to label food with nutritional facts, serving sizes and country of origin to help us make decisions about what we want to eat.
Adding a few words to that label should not be a burden because products are relabeled routinely to attract the shopper’s attention.
Under I-522, manufacturers have up to 18 months to comply.
I-522 will not conflict with the labeling requirements of other states. It will place Washington labels in compliance with international labeling standards.
These new labels will help many Washington farmers and specialty food producers enter markets that demand GMO-free food.
The labeling does not imply that GMO food is unsafe. It allows us to make choices for our families. Long-term studies are still needed before the issue of safety can be settled.
Will labeling lead to increased food costs?
Prices did not rise in Europe when labeling was mandated. If U.S. industries re-design their products to avoid the GMO label, their ingredient costs may increase.
Will GMO labeling lead to expensive lawsuits? Current law requires that all labels be accurate and complete.
I-522 provides for a civil fine, payable to the government, for non-compliance. It does not allow suing for damages.
GMO labeling is not the burden that I-522 opponents would have us believe.
On the contrary, I-522 would expand our farmers’ markets and empower us to make informed decisions about the foods that are best for us.
Please vote yes on I-522.
Carol E. Goldberg