Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Tamara Murphy Wants to Know What She is Serving
NOTE - GSBA has not taken a stance on I-522. The opinions below are solely those of their author.
As the executive chef at Terra Plata, my customers ask me a lot of questions about the foods I serve them. They ask whether it’s organic, if it contains peanuts, and whether it’s Kosher. The question I can’t currently answer is whether it contains genetically engineered ingredients.
Initiative 522 would label genetically engineered (GE) foods in Washington state. It would provide to all Washingtonians, no matter their zip code or income level, the same information about the groceries they buy. A yes vote on initiative 522 would ensure labeling for genetically engineered foods, just as we already have labels for natural and artificial ingredients, sugar, sodium and whether our salmon is wild or farm-raised.
Currently Washingtonians can buy organic foods and know they are not genetically engineered, but Initiative 522 will give all Washingtonians more choice and control of their food. It is a common sense initiative that will provide equality in access to information about our food. In some neighborhoods in Seattle, residents don’t have access to regular produce, let alone healthier foods options. The labels required by I-522 would break down this barrier and allow Washingtonians all over the state and at every income level access to information about what’s in the food we buy. It should be up to shoppers, not big corporations, to decide whether they want to buy GMO foods or not.
Labeling gives consumers the right to know what’s in their foods.
For me, it’s not about whether using genetically engineered food is right or wrong. It’s about having knowledge and choice. It’s as simple as that.
More than 353,000 Washingtonians signed petitions to get this initiative on the fall ballot –the second highest number of signatures gathered for an Initiative to the Legislature in state history. This measure would add Washington to the list of states that have passed legislation to label genetically engineered foods, following Connecticut and Maine, as well as Alaska’s policy to label GE salmon, which should hit the market this year.
Yes on 522 has strong in-state support with over 5,000 individual donors, while just five out-of-state corporations fund No on 522. I ask that you stand with Washington shoppers, not five large out of state companies, and support the right to know what is in the groceries we buy and feed our families.
You can join myself and several other chefs at Bite Nite on September 19th for a small-plates dinner showcasing some of the best restaurants in the Seattle area to benefit Yes on 522. More information about Bite Nite can be found at yeson522.com/bitenite.
Executive Chef and Owner, Terra Plata