The Spokesman-Review

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I-522 risks exaggerated

It’s time to debunk the sub-points of the no on 522 “bureaucracy and increased costs” claims. Their conclusions are not drawn from an examination of facts.

Initiative 522 doesn’t require label monitoring by the Washington Department of Health.

I-522 says courts “may” (not must) award to prevailing plaintiffs. Sixty days before filing, plaintiffs must complain to the department, attorney general and alleged violator. A DOH/AG response of no wrong-doing will give trial lawyers pause. Frivolous litigation risk is not greater than it already is for current labeling law violations.

Without labeling, nongenetically engineered crop farmers/producers are already at a competitive disadvantage. They must bear the expense of the certification process to label as non-GE. That increases costs today. I-522 is a noncertified disclosure of what seed and GE product producers already know. It costs nothing. Record keeping is no more burdensome: Records they keep now would indicate if GE organisms are present, and packagers already segregate ingredients to meet existing labeling requirements.

Finally, if labeling discourages farmers from GE technologies, it is because they know the public doesn’t want it. How about producing and selling what we want instead of hiding it from us and forcing it into our grocery bags?

Ron Cully

Spokane



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