Letter: Initiative 522 -- Yes

September 27, 2013 

The process of plant genetic engineering is different from traditional plant hybrid breeding to obtain a desired trait. Genetic engineering forcefully introduces a large numbers of foreign gene fragments into plant cells to create a new trait.

One pro for GE technique is that the trait can be obtained in weeks unlike the years required for conventional breeding. A con is that hidden changes may occur in the plant cells because of the excess foreign gene fragments.

Some people can be intolerant and exhibit allergic reactions to foods containing such crop products.

Foods already carry a nutritional label with ingredients such as trans-fat, artificial dyes, artificial sweeteners, preservatives and warnings for other allergens. So labeling genetically engineered foods is a logical approach to alleviate the food-associated problems in sensitive people. GE food labeling is already required in 63 countries, many U.S. food manufactures already provide GE food labeling for export to those countries.

The system of labeling is in place now. If Initiative 522 passes, it may actually be beneficial for manufacturers because they can have common labeling and streamline their products packaging

TOYOKO TSUKUDA, Richland

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