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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 23, 2013 at 4:23 PM

Labeling genetically engineered foods in Washington

Consumer’s right to know

Initiative 522 supporters, who want genetically modified foods to be labeled, gathered for a rally outside a Grocery Manufacturers Association meeting at the Westin Hotel in Seattle. [Mark Harrison, The Seattle Times.]

Initiative 522 supporters, who want genetically modified foods to be labeled, gathered for a rally outside a Grocery Manufacturers Association meeting at the Westin Hotel in Seattle. [Mark Harrison, The Seattle Times.]

As the “yes” and “no” voters for Initiative 522 present their reasons for labeling genetically modified foods, it reminds me of the debate for labeling organic foods more than 20 years ago. [“Chefs stir the pot on social issues,” NW Arts & Life, Aug. 18.]

Back then, the industry complained of bureaucracy, loopholes for cheaters, cost, lack of necessity, and all the other usual excuses industry uses to foil the consumer into believing them.

I also remember when food labeling was not required at all. The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act was enacted in 1967. Industry was opposed to this legislation, for the same reasons listed above.

Today, can you imagine a grocery store filled with products with inconsistently sized packaging, no ingredient list and no sell-by date? Or no labeling of organic ingredients or products?

Initiative 522 is just a continuation of the consumer’s right to know what’s in the product, plain and simple. Whether you are for, against, or don’t care about genetically modified foods is not really the issue. It’s about providing information to the consumer.

Industry can and will adapt; they just like to complain. Vote for Initiative 522 to keep truth in packaging and labeling at the forefront of the consumer’s right to know!

Patricia Pyle, Olympia

Comments | More in Environment, Politics, Seattle | Topics: foods, Genetically modified organisms, genetically-engineered

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