Report Analyzes GMO Labeling Impacts

By Ruby de Luna

A group of Northwest scientists has weighed in on key questions related to I-522, the measure to require labeling of genetically modified foods. 

Washington lawmakers wanted to know more about genetically modified foods and their impact. So, they turned to the Washington State Academy of Sciences for some answers.

Tom Marsh says the academy's role is "to provide science-based information for the public so that more informed decisions can be made.” Marsh is an agricultural economist at Washington State University, who took part in the study. On nutrition, the committee concluded that GMO foods are "substantially equivalent" to non-GMO's. The committee also found that while there have been no documented adverse health effects from GMO foods, it still recommends continued monitoring for long term effects.

Regarding costs associated with mandatory labeling, Marsh says they vary. It's not just the cost of labeling itself, but also the process of keeping GMO products separate, from seed to production, and all the way to retail.

Marsh: “And because many of our commodities are very homogenous, our systems have not been constructed to segregate in all of our crops, that’s why there will be these additional segregation costs."

The report does not make any recommendation on how the public should vote on I-522 in Washington.

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