Economic concerns

Most of Washington state's key trading partners require labels on genetically engineered foods.

When genetically engineered crops and foods are co-mingled with conventional foods in the supply chain, these markets won’t buy.

Export losses

  • Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan suspended purchases of Northwest soft white wheat in June 2013 when genetically engineered wheat turned up in a Northwest farm field.
  • Genetically engineered Starlink corn already cost the U.S. economy an estimated $1 billion dollars in lost exports, lower prices for farmers, product recalls, and crop subsidies.
  • When genetically engineered rice contaminated conventional rice lands in five states, export markets for more than 11,000 rice farmers collapsed. Europe, Japan, Russia and other buyers cancelled orders when the contamination was announced. Importers are buying from Thailand, Pakistan, India and Uruguay. Those markets have not returned and rice industry now must test every load to maintain access to sensitive markets.
  • Total losses from commingling genetically engineered crops into the conventional supply chain have cost the U.S. economy an estimated $12 billion since 1999.

At risk

Agriculture is Washington state’s number one employer, and wheat, apples, and salmon are the backbone of Washington state’s economy.

Genetically engineered variants of conventional wheat, apples and salmon, are now in line for approval, without labeling. Consider the potential impact from similar export losses from a commingled supply chain, without separation and labeling.

  • Washington-grown wheat is worth $1.14 billion to our state treasury.
  • Apple exports are worth $824 million.
  • Salmon exports are worth $123 million.

The processed food industry in Washington state could gain market export advantages by meeting the labeling requirements of markets overseas.

More about: I-522, labeling

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