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GMO Food Labels: I-522 Trails by 95,000 Votes; Backers Not Conceding

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page and our Washington News page.

 Washington voters were on their way to rejecting a citizen initiative Tuesday that would have made the  Evergreen State first to require "clear and conspicuous" labeling of genetically modified and engineered foods sold in grocery stores starting in 2015.

In an election watched carefully by the national food industry and its critics, early evening vote counts showed Initiative 522 was losing by 95,000 votes despite strong support in populous King County. With about 2 million voters expected to turn out in the vote-by-mail election, roughly half of ballots remained to be counted statewide.

"We think the numbers look strong," No on 522 spokeswoman Dana Bieber said, all but declaring victory. "We ran a factual, credible and respectful campaign. With Washington voters it's all about the facts   When they got the facts about how costly and misleading it was, they rightly got to the no vote.''

But backers of the labeling campaign were refusing to give up at their election party at a Pioneer Square venue in downtown Seattle. "This race as we thought is too close to call," Yes on 522 spokeswoman Elizabeth Larter insisted shortly after the first flood of votes was counted. "We're optimistic about the vote to be tabulated over the next couple of days. Conservative voters vote first. There's a lot of voters to come in from King County.''

The campaign fight over I-522 was one of the most expensive in state history - with No on 522 raising $22 million almost entirely from food, agriculture and biotech interests  located out of state. That paid for an avalanche of television, newspaper and online advertisements that warned the measure would be costly to consumers, misleading and confusing.    


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