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NY times on Big Food and Biotech Plan to Block State Labeling Efforts

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

 Some of the nation's major food companies declared victory on Wednesday over an initiative in Washington State that would have required labeling of some foods that contain biotech ingredients, although supporters of labeling held out hope that hundreds of thousands of uncounted votes might yet turn the tide.

With roughly 990,000 votes counted, Washington residents appeared to reject mandatory labeling of genetically engineered products, with 55 percent voting against the initiative and 45 percent for it.

The Washington secretary of state has not declared a result for the initiative, because roughly 300,000 mail-in ballots remain to be counted. But the food companies contend that the outstanding ballots will not affect the outcome.

Major grocery suppliers considered this their second win against such individual state proposals, amid their three-year plan to try to stymie labeling efforts across the country.

Their strategy, laid out in partly redacted documents filed with the Washington attorney general's office, aims for a federal ban on mandatory labeling, which would frustrate labeling efforts percolating in some 20 states. Genetically engineered ingredients are found in more than 70 percent of foods sold in grocery stores.

"It's no surprise they would want a federal solution that will pre-empt states from labeling," said Michele R. Simon, a public health lawyer and food blogger who obtained the documents through a public records request and shared them with The New York Times.