Letters to the Editor

Pivotal points lost in I-522 coverage | Letters

In the Oct. 16 issue, (“Battle looms over labels”, pg. 1) Steve Wehrly reported Washington Wire’s claim that, “… the typical family of four would pay an additional $490 a year for groceries.”

What was not reported, and what voters would have needed to know, is that the “No” side bought and paid for their cost studies.

As Trudy Bialic of Puget Consumers Co-op points out, “there’s no evidence of food costs rising in 64 countries where labeling is required, so the No side had to pay the Washington Research Council, a conservative think-tank, to say what they wanted it to say.”

Conversely, an independent study by the Alliance for Natural Health found that I-522 will not substantially increase food costs, Bialic said.

Food manufacturers change labels frequently, every year or so, without raising prices. As Jerry Greenfield, co-owner of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, said recently, “Think about it: why would adding five words to a label increase costs?”

Bialic also points out the cost to farmers of not labeling. When experimental (genetically engineered) wheat was found in an Oregon farmer’s field, Japan and Korea suspended purchases, causing prices for Washington wheat to fall $.60 per bushel. Although buying has now resumed, prices have not bounced back to previous levels.

And now the farmers have to pay new fees for testing their wheat.

Unfortunately, the “Yes” side of the food costs issue was not adequately covered in Wehrly’s report, giving an unfair advantage to the “No” side.

Charles Mish


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