Preliminary vote tabulations indicate 54.48% to 45.52% results against Initiative 522.
Proponents of Initiative 522 had hoped to set an example for the nation with a Washington state law compelling food manufacturers to label products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Transnational food manufacturers that normally compete for business—Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Pepsico, General Mills, Nestlé, Coca-Cola, Bayer Cropscience, Dow Agrisciences, and some 30 other corporations—joined forces to defeat the state initiative, outspending their opponents 4 to 1.
The Initiative would have been the first in the nation and the first among over 60 primed countries to mandate that consumers be informed when genetically engineered (GE) organisms are in food sold for consumption.
Critics argued that the proposed Initiative was confusing for both producers and consumers. Initiative 522 opponent spokesperson Dana Bieber said that 522 didn’t tell consumers what’s in their food. She said that 70 percent of food would have been exempt from the law, including food in restaurants, hospitals, and schools, as well as alcohol.
Proponents, whose corporate support included Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Ben & Jerry’s, Whole Foods, Nature’s Path Foods USA, Clif Bar, and some one hundred other natural food companies, argued that the majority of Americans want GMO labeling.
As quoted in the Christian Science Monitor, Philip Bereano, who is professor emeritus of Technology and Public Policy at the University of Washington, said, “Over the past 25 years, surveys have repeatedly shown that 90 percent of people in the U.S. want GE foods to be labeled.”
Image from the intro to the Mary Tyler Moore Show.