Letters to the Editor

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FOOD: Vote no on flawed Initiative 522

Letter by Jonathan A. Levant, Tacoma on Aug. 30, 2013 at 10:51 am with No Comments »
August 30, 2013 1:29 pm

Voters will have a chance to defeat a very flawed initiative – Initiative 522 – when we sit down to fill out our ballots this fall.

Supporters of I-522 tell us it is a simple measure to label foods made with genetically engineered ingredients. It isn’t. Voters shouldn’t be misled. Here’s what I-522’s promoters won’t tell you:

• I-522 would hurt Washington’s farmers, food producers and retailers whose cost of doing business – and our costs as consumers – would increase in order to comply with new regulations.

• I-522 would create a new state bureaucracy to regulate and police labeling – without providing any funding to do so.

• I-522 would actually provide incomplete and misleading information on food labels.

• I-522 would open up new avenues for lawsuits, benefiting plaintiff attorneys.

As a physician, I am also concerned about the anti-science agenda being pushed by I-522 backers. More than 440 peer-reviewed scientific studies conducted over the past 20 years by such organizations as the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have shown that genetically engineered foods are safe and even beneficial to farmers, consumers and the environment.

The American Medical Association has concluded there is no scientific justification for special labeling of bioengineered foods.

I encourage readers to find out more about I-522 by visiting FactsAbout522.com and to vote no on I-522 this November.

(Levant is a Tacoma physician.)

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