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Organic Consumers Association

After Washington GMO Label Battle, Both Sides Eye National Fight

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

Both sides of the costly and high-stakes GMO labeling battle in Washington state say they see an even bigger national fight ahead despite the apparent defeat of the mandatory labeling measure by Washington state voters this week.

The measure died 47.05 percent to 52.95 percent, according to results updated Thursday night by the Washington Secretary of State's office as results continued to trickle in. The likely loss followed a similar defeat last year in California when a ballot initiative there also failed to pass.

"It is pretty well beyond any doubt," said Secretary of State elections division spokesman David Ammons of the apparent defeat of the labeling proposal. Results will be certified on December 4 and are unlikely to change much, he added.

The measures in Washington and California had early strong support in polls. That support ebbed as food and agricultural industry players poured millions of dollars into advertising campaigns spelling out what the industry groups said were deep flaws in the proposed laws. A consortium that includes General Mills, Nestle USA, PepsiCo, Monsanto,; and other corporate giants, contributed roughly $22 million to kill the labeling law.

Despite the Washington loss, proponents pushing for labeling on food made from genetically modified crops cite progress in 20 other U.S. states, particularly in Massachusetts, New York and New Hampshire. They say they will also turn up the pressure on federal lawmakers and regulators.     


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