I-522 Backers Say Washington Should Label Genetically Modified Foods

Jan 3, 2013

Supporters of a legislative initiative that would require companies to label products containing genetically-modified foods have turned in their signatures to the Secretary of State’s office in Olympia. The grassroots campaign says it has about 100,000 more than required for certification.

Seattle’s PCC Food Co-op is a big backer. Its policy spokeswoman, Trudi Bialic, says they originally got involved in the issue because of consumers demanding the right to know what they’re eating. But she says there’s also concern about Washington’s economy.

Dozens of countries, including several of the state’s key export markets in Asia, now require GMO labeling. The crops they buy from us include Washington wheat and apples.

"And why in the world would we not do something that would help protect their identity and integrity to our export trade," Bialic says. "We need to be able to meet the labeling requirements and the import requirements of those countries.”

PCC contributed about $10o,ooo to the campaign.

Food activists in Oregon say they’re working on putting a similar initiative on the ballot in 2014. One that went before California voters last fall failed.

The grocery store industry says labeling standards should be decided federally. Other opponents argue GMO labeling would raise food prices and hurt farmers.

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