Preliminary tallies suggest Washington state voters have struck down a ballot initiative to require labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods.
The vote, held 5 November, was the latest skirmish in the ongoing controversy over GM food labeling. Many other states have similar measures in the works: the Center for Food Safety, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group based in Washington DC that supports labeling, lists over 20 proposed state initiatives — most wending their way through state legislatures — to either label or limit GM foods. California voters rejected a similar proposal last year.
Though the Washington state measure, called I-522, inspired some creative campaign commercials, early vote counts indicate a likely defeat, 45% in favor to 55% opposed. Those counts are incomplete, and the state will continue to accept and tally mailed-in votes postmarked by 5 November. The ‘Yes on 522’ campaign maintains that the results are too close to call; opponents of the initiative have deemed I-522 “soundly rejected“.