June 5, 2013

The Tri-City Herald

Editorial Board


Voters will be given plenty of food for thought before deciding on I-522

We all like to eat.

And we live in a nation that is blessed with an abundant food supply.

Closer to home, we reside in the heart of prime agricultural production territory, where an amazingly diverse assortment of crops are grown each year in large part thanks to our irrigation systems.

Technology and stewardship have helped our farmers to grow food more efficiently, with more yield per acre and heartier plant stock.

And, yes, in some cases that means the use of GMOs (genetically modified organisms). While that may be a scary sounding term, most consumers armed with just a little education quickly realize that genetic modification has its benefits and is common in most things we eat.

A good basic rule of thumb is that if it’s not organic, there’s likely a GMO component to the product’s existence.

Washington’s voters will get to decide their comfort level with GMOs with Initiative 522 on this fall’s ballot.

If passed, it would require any food sold in Washington to say if it contains genetically altered substances.

Washington is not alone in considering the labels, but likely will be the only state with a ballot initiative this year. California voters rejected a similar proposal last year in a race where money from agricultural interests far out-gunned that of proponents of the measure.

… Opponents of I-522 say the labels are expensive and unnecessary. Labels could drive food costs up and scare some consumers out of eating food that is perfectly safe for consumption.

… What consumers need in the case of GMOs is education. Companies like Monsanto alter foods to aid production, which helps create our bountiful food supply.

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