Push to require labels on genetically engineered food in WA

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by TERESA YUAN / KING 5 News

KREM.com

Posted on April 9, 2013 at 8:53 AM

SEATTLE -- With a few weeks left in the Washington state legislative session, one initiative is going on the November ballot, Initiative 522. It would require labels on genetically engineered food.

"GMO is a genetically modified organism. Basically food scientists go into a food and change something, whether it's something very tiny like cosmetic, or infuse vitamins and minerals that kind of thing," said Ashley Besecker, a registered dietician.

“It can be really confusing so I would say step up to the plate, don’t let these marketers intimidate you at all,” said Besecker.

Besecker recommends looking for the "No GMO Project” label which means the product was not genetically altered. She says more than 70% of our food supply is genetically altered.

The top three items she recommends buying organic are diary, meats and fish. First, make sure there's a USDA organic seal. Companies can only use it if 95% or more of the product is organic. Besecker says don’t be fooled, just because the container says organic or all natural, it doesn't mean it's 100% organic.

For beef, also look for grass-fed labels. For seafood, Besecker picks wild-caught over farm-raised, for a more natural and healthier option.          

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, Besecker reads the stickers on the product. If it starts with a number 3 or 4 that means they were grown conventionally. If it starts with a number 9, it was grown organically.

Besecker also recommends taking an extra second to look at the ingredients of the product. There shouldn't be a ton of ingredients, the fewer the better.

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