State Sen. Chase: ‘We must act now’ to support GMO labeling

Democratic state Sen. Maralyn Chase said Monday that the Legislature must act now to support labeling of genetically modified food products.

“For everyone who doubted the need for labeling genetically modified foods, a small farm in Oregon is serving as a wakeup call,” Chase said Monday. “Already, because of this small amount of genetically modified wheat, Japan — the top importer of U.S. wheat — has suspended some imports. South Korea is considering a similar move and European Union countries are also now urging its member countries to test U.S. wheat.

“I am urging the House and Senate in our state to again take up Senate Bill 5073, which will create a labeling system to distinguish genetically modified food from non-GMO foods.

An initiative to the Legislature that would have required labeling of foods with genetically modified organisms died in the Legislature and will go to voters in the November election.

“Ultimately, this decision will be up to the voters, but the Legislature must act to demonstrate to our trading partners throughout the world that we are indeed serious about protecting the integrity of wheat grown in Washington,” Chase said. “We must also act to show that we stand in solidarity with Washington farmers who each year contribute literally billions of dollars to our state’s economy.

“We are a trade-dependent state. We are the third largest exporter of food and agricultural products in the entire nation. We cannot let our status as a world power of agricultural exports be compromised when something as simple as a good-faith vote on labeling would allow us to maintain our standing. We must act now.”

Chase represents the 32nd Legislative District, including Lynnwood, most of Mountlake Terrace, south Edmonds, Woodway and nearby unincorporated areas of southwest Snohomish County, Shoreline and part of northwest Seattle.

Evan Smith can be reached at schsmith@frontier.com.

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