GMO labeling fight moves to Washington state

Published online: Oct 21, 2013
Viewed 974 time(s)

Washington state is the latest battleground over GMO labeling.

An initiative that would require foods containing ingredients from genetically modified plants to be labeled as such will be on the Washington ballot on Nov. 5.  And similar to what occurred in California in 2012, food manufacturers and agribusiness firms are spending large amounts of money to try to defeat the measure.

According to USA Today, the top five contributors to the "No on 522 Coalition" are the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Dow AgroSciences and Bayer CropScience. Labeling opponents have raised more than $17 million, while supporters of the measure have around $5 million.

In a poll taken in September, 66 percent of Washington voters said they would vote for labeling. But analysts says those numbers may change as both sides roll out their ad campaigns. 

California voters rejected a similar initiative 53 to 47 percent in 2012.

The outcome of the Washington vote could have implications for national GMO labeling. Activists predict that if voters approve the measure, it will lead more food companies to approach Congress and federal regulators for a national labeling alternative. They say the outcome of the Washington referendum could provide an idea of where any national labeling regulation may be headed in the coming months.