Food activists in Washington state are in the last days of the I-522 battle over whether to label genetically modified produce, with both sides funneling a combined $27 million into the campaign for and against the measure. $21 million was supplied by the opposition, which officially makes anti-labeling the most expensive campaign against a ballot initiative in the state's history. Voters hit the polls November 5 — let's hope they fare better than their Californian neighbors, whose similar Prop 27 was struck down last year.
I-522's opposition is funded almost exclusively by biotech and food corporations like, yes, obviously Monsanto, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, ConAgra, Cargill and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, all of whom argue that labeling GMOs will raise costs and dent sales across the board — a concern supported by research from the University of Washington. The farmers growing the food, however, along with organizations like the Washington Farm Bureau and the Organic Consumers Association are overwhelmingly in favor of labeling. You know that awesome peppermint soap in the blue bottle with microscopic words your hippie friends all have? Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps threw down a whopping $1.8 million to support the labeling initiative.
The opposition took a recent hit with Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson bringing a lawsuit against the food lobby for targeting, soliciting and shielding individual donor companies from the public eye, slapping the Grocery Manufacturers Association with an as-yet undisclosed fine. "Just like the GMA doesn't want consumers to know what's in our food," campaign spokeswoman Elizabeth Larter said, "they didn't want Washingtonians knowing who was really funding the No on 522 campaign." Too bad the GMA might not have to pay it all.
Check out the totally predictable full list of opposing donors…then let's go burn them to the ground. Kidding, they're flame-retardant — they invented the stuff! Washintonian? Vote yes on the 5th, it's your right to know.
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