Washington State Initiative 522
Washington State's Initiative 522 (I-522) is a ballot initiative in Washington State that would require the labeling of genetically engineered foods, also known as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The ballot initiative was initially filed on June 29, 2012, with votes due on November 5, 2013. After a barrage of ads, Washington voters slid from from a 66 percent show of support for labeling GMOs in food six weeks before election day to defeating Initiative 522 for GMO labeling at the polls, with preliminary results showing 55 percent against.
Initially, I-522 was heavily favored in polls, but by October 21, two weeks before Election Day, polling was too close to call. A Seattle Times blog post attributed the shift to "a barrage of opposition advertisements over the last month." This pattern resembles the campaign for California's Proposition 37 of 2012, which also initially won in polls but ultimately narrowly lost. In both cases, industry poured millions of dollars into the state to oppose the initiatives. In the I-522 fight, as of November 6, the No campaign raised $22 million compared to $7.9 million for the Yes campaign.
No on I-522 Donors
Donors opposing I-522 included:
- Grocery Manufacturers Association: $22,047,474.29
- Monsanto: $5,374,411.25
- DuPont Pioneer: $3,880,159.25
- Dow Agrosciences LLC: $591,654.25
- Bayer CropScience: $591,654.25
- BASF PlantScience: $500,000
- Individual Washington Residents: $600 (Ray Wardenaar: $250; John Bortz: $100; Nancy Haunty: $100; Jim Blair: $50; Lawrence Kent: $50; Linda Mitchell: $50)
Yes on I-522 Donors
Several organizations support I-522. They include:
- Yes on I-522 Committee: $7,889,928.46
- Organic Consumers Fund Committee to Label GMOs in WA State: $798,396.18
- Label It WA: $513,006.48
- Farmers & Friends of Initiative 522: $80,191.50
- EWG Yes on I-522 Comm: $30,432.77
- GMO Right to Know: $500.00
The largest of these groups, the Yes on I-522 Committee, received 9,204 contributions from corporations, organizations, cooperatives, farms, and individuals. About 97 percent of donations were under $1000. Top donors to the group were as follows, as of October 22, 2013:
- Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps: $1,725,000
- Organic Consumer Fund: $690,000
- Center for Food Safety Action Fund: $350,000
- Mercola.com: $250,000
- Presence Marketing, Inc.: $250,000
- Nature's Path Foods: $160,000
- Nutiva: $135,000
- Annie's Inc: $100,000
- Food Democracy Now: $100,000
- GFA Brands Inc.: $100,000
- PCC Natural Markets: $100,000
- William T. Weiland (Owner of Presence Marketing): $100,000
Articles and Resources
Related SourceWatch Articles
- California's Proposition 37 of 2012
- Genetically Engineered Food Labeling
- GMO Policies by Country
Related PRWatch Articles
- Jill Richardson, Astroturf Tramples Grassroots in Washington State GMO Labeling Battle, PRWatch, October 28, 2013.
- Michele Simon, "Junk Food Lobby Forced to Disclose Donors to its Secret “Defense of Brand Strategic Account”," Eat Drink Politics, October 22, 2013.
- Initiative 522 Final Text, Washington Secretary of State.
- Yes On 522, Accessed October 22, 2013.
- Dean Patton, Ballot measure to label GMO foods is a tossup in Washington State, Christian Science Monitor, November 4, 2013.
- Washington State Office of the Secretary of State, Initiative to the Legislature 522 Concerns labeling of genetically-engineered foods, state government website, accessed November 6, 2013.
- GMO-labeling I-522 clings to lead, but momentum has shifted ," Seattle Times, October 21, 2013, Accessed October 22, 2013.
- Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, Initiative 522: Contributions, state governmental website, accessed November 6, 2013.
- Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, Initiative Committees by Ballot Number: 2013 522, state governmental website, accessed November 6, 2013.
- Funders of Yes on I-522, Washington Secretary of State, Accessed October 22, 2013.