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Suit: Grocery Manufacturers Laundered Donations on I-522

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

The Grocery Manufacturers Association is laundering money for big food retailers that don't want bad publicity associated with big donations against Initiative 522, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Thurston County Superior Court by a group called Moms for Labeling.

"The GMA has made a special appeal to its members in the form of a voluntary special assessment to fund the No on 522 campaign," the suit said.

The ballot measure would require labeling of genetically modified crops and seeds, with some exceptions, sold in Washington state.  The food industry and agribusiness spent $46 million to (narrowly) defeat a similar measure in California last year.

They have so far raised more than $11 million for the No on 522 campaign. But there is a difference.

Individual companies spent heavily in the campaign against California's Proposition 37.  Pepsico gave $2.14 million, Coca-Cola donated $1.455 million, Nestle came in for $1.315 million, Kraft spent $1.64 million, with Heinz and Campbell Soup each giving $500,000.

The companies' names have not yet appeared in No on 522 filings.  But the Grocery Manufacturers Association has donated $2.2 million to the anti-522 campaign, far more than it gave to the No-on-37 campaign in California.

The No on 522 campaign "illegally conceals the identity of the campaign's donors," charges the Moms for Labeling lawsuit. "Donations to the (anti) Initiative 522 campaign are being laundered through the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the world's largest association of food, beverage and consumer products companies."