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Wash. State Voters Defeating GMO Labeling Initiative

 

A Washington state ballot measure requiring mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods is failing in early returns.

The campaign over Initiative 522 has been one of the costliest initiative fights in state history, drawing millions of dollars from out of state.

Early polling showed voters favored the measure. But a barrage of TV and radio spots financed by a food industry group and five biotechnology companies has helped narrow the gap.

The measure was failing 47 percent to 53 percent as the first votes were being counted Tuesday night.

If voters approve I-522, Washington would be the first state to put in place labeling requirements genetically modified foods.

Supporters say consumers have the right to know what's in the food they buy, while opponents say the measure would lead to higher food costs.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.