Organic Consumers Association

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Poll: Big Lead for Food-labeling Initiative in WA

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

A new statewide poll found 66 percent of voters saying they will "definitely" or "probably" vote for Initiative 522, which puts labeling requirements on genetically manufactured foods and seeds offered for retail sale in Washington.

Agribusiness interests and major grocery chains spent $46 million to narrowly defeat a similar initiative in California last year. Until Monday,  they have reported raising $3.264 million for the No-on-522 campaign in Washington, a war chest that trails the money so far raised by initiative supporters.

But that changed early Tuesday.  Montsanto just put $4.592 million into the No-on-522 campaign, a sure sign that Washington is in for another big money corporate-fueled campaign in the next two months.

The new Elway Poll, which interviewed 406 voters earlier this month, found 43 percent "definitely" backing the initiative, its support highest among higher income voters and Democrats.  Just 21 percent of those surveyed said they likely or definitely intend to vote no.

Supporters plan to make a splash Wednesday, with celebrity endorser Jerry Greenfield, who co-founded Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, along with executives from Whole Foods and PCC Natural Markets.

The Seattle City Council has endorsed the initiative.  So has Seattle-base attorney Bill Marler, the nation's top litigator of food safety lawsuits.

The initiative has been denounced by conservative newspaper editorial writers as unnecessary and a potential burden on Washington agriculture.

The Elway Poll also found an advantage for Tim Eyman's latest statewide ballot initiative.

I-517 would penalize those who allegedly interfere or retaliate against those collecting signatures on initiatives - principally paid employees of signature-collection firms - and extend the time allowed to collect enough signatures to make the ballot.  

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