GM food labeling measure to qualify for Washington state ballot
If California is any guide, Washington state's pro-labeling campaigners faces an uphill battle.
California's Proposition 37, also known as the "Right to Know" initiative, was supported by more than 60 percent of likely voters in early polls. It sprang from a grass-roots effort in a state that has long led the way on a variety of environmental issues and has a growing organic and "local food" movement.
But backing for the measure crumbled in the face of a $46 million advertising blitz funded largely by seed company Monsanto Co, PepsiCo Inc, the Coca-Cola Co and other food and agriculture companies. The ads warned that the initiative would raise food prices and create a confusing set of rules for farmers and grocers.
The California initiative was defeated 53 percent to 47 percent.
Monsanto, which spent over $7 million to defeat the initiative, did not immediately respond to phone messages requesting comment on the Washington state initiative.
Bialic of PCC Natural Markets acknowledged that her side lacks the money it would take to achieve financial parity against the nation's largest food makers in an election campaign.
"There's no way we'll be able to outspend them," she said.
"This is a long battle. Sooner or later we're going to win, and we're hoping it's going to be in Washington."
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