Some Wash. wheat farmers back labels for GM foods

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YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) -- Advocates of labeling for genetically modified foods have fresh hope for legislation in Washington state now that some wheat farmers have thrown their support behind it.

The federal government doesn't require genetically modified foods to be labeled. Only Alaska has enacted legislation at the state level, requiring labels on genetically engineered seafood, although none is currently on the market.

Genetically engineered wheat is likely a decade or more from gaining regulatory approval and being offered commercially.

But wheat farmer Tom Stahl of Waterville says he fears a loss of exports if that happens. Wheat is Washington's No. 2 export product, and the European Union and Pacific Rim nations have been resistant to modified foods.

Critics counter that GMO products are safe and say labeling will just increase packaging costs.