Why GE Labeling is Important for Washington’s Apple Industry

Initiative 522 would ensure genetically engineered (GE) apples are labeled in Washington. This would allow shoppers to make an informed choice.

GE apples are being grown in Washington state

  • Currently there are no GE apples approved for marketing to U.S. shoppers.
  • However, the USDA currently is reviewing a bid from Canada’s Okanogan Specialty Fruit to introduce the Arctic Apple – a GE apple engineered not to brown or show bruising.
  • The USDA has approved a three-year permit for a 20 acre field test of GE apples in Washington state, at a location not disclosed to neighboring farmers or orchardists. It is current until May 2015.
  • The U.S. Apple Association, Washington State Horticultural Association, Washington Apple Commission, and the Northwest Horticultural Council have all raised concerns over GE apples.

Washington is the nation’s leading producer of apples

  • Washington produced more apples than any other state in 2011.
  • Washington’s apple industry accounted for 57.4 percent of the nation’s apples in 2011.
  • More than $7 billion in economic output was generated by all levels of production, packing, processing, marketing and research in the 2010-2011 apple season.

Apple exports are a vital part of Washington’s economy

  • The value of Washington apples sold as fresh or processed product is estimated at about $2.5 billion yearly.
  • An estimated 30 percent of Washington apples are exported overseas, with major markets in Asia, Canada, Mexico and South America.

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Thousands of jobs depend on Washington’s apple industry

Washington’s major trading partners already require GE labeling

  • The top ten countries for Washington apple exports in 2011-2012 were: Mexico, Canada, India, China/Hong Kong, Indonesia, Taiwan, UAE, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Malyasia.
  • Seven of these ten countires (India, China, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia) all require labeling on GE foods.