Genetically modified food labeling focus of forum

Supporters of a Washington state initiative to require labels on genetically engineered foods are holding a community forum today at Gonzaga University.

The event at 6:30 p.m. in the Jepson Center will feature three speakers on what the supporters call GE foods, in which genetic modification is used to create new traits.

The speakers will be Tom Stahl, a Douglas County wheat farmer; Gary Angell, owner of Rocky Ridge Ranch in Spokane County; and Dr. Michael A. Judd, co-founder of the Metabolic Institute in Spokane.

The initiative has qualified for the November ballot but is now before the Legislature, which is expected to pass the issue to voters.

The drive to require labeling of GE foods is gaining momentum around the country.

Whole Foods recently announced that it will require labeling of GE foods at its stores by 2018. Chemical and agribusiness interests launched an expensive campaign to defeat a labeling initiative in California last fall.

Food & Water Watch and Yes on 522 are sponsoring the forum. The campaign is building a coalition of partners that includes Spokane Permaculture, Main Market Co-op, Sun People Dry Goods, Method Juice Cafe, Mother’s Cupboard, Central Food, Santé and others.

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