Letters to the Editor

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I-522: Initiative is needless and misleading

Letter by Matthew White, M.D., Lakewood on Oct. 17, 2013 at 2:50 pm with No Comments »
October 17, 2013 2:54 pm

Voters shouldn’t be fooled by the proponents of I-522 – the genetically engineered food initiative –
who claim that it is virtually innocuous. Voters should read I-522’s fine print.

Here’s what I-522’s promoters won’t tell you:

• It 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 (Washington Research Council Report). Segregated production and transportation systems, not just special labels, would be required.

• I-522 would actually provide misleading information for consumers.

• I-522 is riddled with nonsensical exceptions that will further confuse consumers. Hamburgers (but not veggie burgers), beer and wine, milk and eggs would be exempt, for example.

• I-522 ignores more than 400 peer-reviewed studies by such organizations as the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science that have shown 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.

• It makes no sense to have one state with the proposed label requirement while 49 others do not.

This initiative is not what it seems. Labeling regulations are only useful when they result in accurate and reliable information. I-522 doesn’t meet either of these standards


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