The Politics Blog

Grocery Manufacturers celebrate defeat of I-522's labels for GMO foods

OlympianNovember 6, 2013 

Updated with comments from the Yes on 522 campaign:

With vote results showing Initiative 522 is headed for defeat in Washington state, the chief executive of the Grocery manufacturers Association issued a statement Wednesday morning on the outcome.

The association was the single biggest funder of the No on 522 campaign against mandatory labels for genetically engineered foods, contributing more than $11 million from members to give the opponents a huge $22 million war chest that paid for ads that likely swayed the election.

Pamela Bailey, the more than 300 member organization's president and CEO said:

"We are pleased that the voters of Washington State rejected I-522 by a significant margin. I-522 was a complex and costly proposal that would have misled consumers, raised the price of groceries for Washington families and done nothing to improve food safety.

"The food and beverage industry is committed to providing consumers with a wide array of safe and affordable food and beverage choices.  Genetically modified food ingredients (GMOs) are safe, good for the environment, reduce the cost of food and help feed a growing global population of seven billion.

"Because a 50-state patchwork of GMO labeling laws would be confusing and costly to consumers, GMA will advocate for a federal solution that will protect consumers by ensuring that the FDA, America's leading food safety authority, sets national standards for the safety and labeling of products made with GMO ingredients. Our country’s labeling laws have been and should continue to be based on health, safety and nutritional content.

"We will continue to oppose individual state efforts to impose mandatory labeling of products made with GMO technology, as well as advocate for the safe and effective use of this important technology to increase the food supply while lowering cost. And we will continue to engage in an informative dialogue with our consumers on the safety, prevalence and benefits of that technology."

Spokesmen for the Yes on I-522 campaign had not yet conceded defeat, and its campaign reiterated that position on Wednesday morning in a news release:

There are too many votes that have not been counted for this race to be called. Hundreds of thousands of votes have yet to be counted. Additionally, Washington Secretary of State is currently reporting that over 300,000 votes still have to be counted. KOMO News 4 in Seattle even noted that there were more votes to be counted and results are not yet final.

“This race is not over yet,” said Delana Jones, Campaign Manager for Yes on 522. “Due to Washington State’s vote-by-mail system, there are hundreds of thousands of votes still to be counted. Please stay tuned. More results will be available after 6pm Pacific.” 

Vote updates should be posted here on the state's election web site as counties count additional ballots.

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