On Tuesday, ballots in Washington State included initiative 522, which if passed, would require the labeling of genetically-engineered foods. This is an historic initiative for two reasons—it has set a record for fundraising, and if it passes, Washington will become the first state to implement labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods.
The ‘no’ campaign had an unprecedented $22 million in donations, setting a record for fundraising by one side in an initiative battle in Washington state. However, Washington state residents only contributed $550 dollars to the ‘no’ campaign, with some of the greatest donations coming from the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA), DuPont, and Monsanto. The GMA is facing a lawsuit for their failure to reveal the names of individual donor’s contributions.
The ‘yes’ campaign was outfunded 3-to-1 but raised a respectable sum of over $7 million from 10,000 Washington state residents, and numerous organic businesses, and other companies and organizations recognizing the need for labeling of genetically modified foods.
As of 8:20 pm on November 7th, 730,968 residents had voted against the measure and nearly 650,000 individuals had voted for it. Some news reports have said the race is over with the measure being narrowly defeated. Other reports remain optimistic explaining that there are still thousands of votes left to be counted and the race remains too close to call. It is definitely a tight race with 53% of counted votes opposing the measure, and 47% supporting it.
For up-to-date information check the Yes on 522 campaign website.