Sen. Maralyn Chase, D-Shoreline, issued the following statement regarding the recent discovery of genetically modified wheat in Oregon:
“For everyone who doubted the need for labeling genetically modified foods, a small farm in Oregon is serving as a wakeup call.
“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.
“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.
“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.”