The fight for mandatory labeling of genetically engineered food is not over, according to the people behind the Yes on 522 campaign.
Under Initiative 522 (I-522), genetically engineered foods or foods containing genetically engineered ingredients would have been required to be labeled noting that the food or processed food has been genetically engineered.
The Yes on 522 campaign acknowledged defeat Friday, November 15.
“Thank you to everyone who voted, volunteered, donated, and supported this effort,” said Yes on 522 co-chair Trudy Bialic in a statement. “There was lower than expected voter turnout this year. Despite being outspent three to one, we are projecting winning 49 percent of the vote. We are disappointed with the results, but the polling is clear that Washingtonians support labeling and believe they have a right to know. This fight isn’t over. We will be back in 2016 to challenge and defeat the out-of-state corporations standing in the way of our right to know.”
As of Saturday, November 16, 889,086 Washington voters (51.21 percent) voted “no” on the measure while 846,975 voters (48.79 percent) voted “yes” on the measure.
“This is a clear victory for Washington consumers, taxpayers, and family farmers across our state,” said Dana Bieber, spokesperson for No on 522, in a statement last week. “Washington voters have soundly rejected this badly written and deceptive initiative.”
Over $33 million was donated to the campaign against I-522 compared with over $9 million for the campaign in favor of GMO labeling, according to Responsible Choices, a non-partisan nonprofit organization. The group’s mission is to educate and inform Washington State voters about who is funding initiatives and the impact of ballot measures on citizens and state and local governments.
King County voters were in favor of I-522 with 316,524 “yes” votes (59.37 percent) and 216,626 “no” votes (40.63 percent), as of Saturday, November 16.