SEATTLE -- SEATTLE (AP) — Washington's voters are deciding whether to label food that contains genetically modified ingredients in a campaign that has drawn millions of dollars from out of state.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which collected money from some of the nation's top food companies, and five major corporations have raised $22 million to defeat Initiative 522. Food-labeling supporters have raised $7.8 million, backed by Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps and consumer groups.
I-522 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.
Early polling showed voters supporting the measure. But a barrage of TV and radio spots from labeling foes in recent weeks have helped close the gap. Recent polling shows the race is too close to call.
If voters approve 522, Washington state would be the first state to enact labeling requirements for foods with genetically engineered ingredients. Connecticut passed a labeling law last summer that doesn't take effect until several other states pass similar laws.
LeRoy Pilant, a real estate agent from Spokane, said he voted in favor of the measure because he wants full disclosure.
"I want to know so I could choose whether to eat a product and not have them (corporations) mask what they're doing," he said. "It irritates me to no end that they brought all this money into the state to mask what they're doing with our food supply."
Dylan Wilbanks, a product designer from Seattle, said it was a tough choice but he voted against 522 after reading the studies.
"It's difficult to choose to vote for corporations. It feels wrong in every single way, but I felt that I had to choose between corporations versus a view on science I couldn't accept," he said. "At the end of the day, I can't vote for fear, I have to vote for reason."
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Greenpeace activists demonstrate against genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on November 24, 2008 in front of EU headquarters in Brussels. Greenpeace called on the European Union to suspend the authorization of GMOs until the EU is capable of evaluating the risks they pose. (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Greenpeace activists stand a protest in front of Los Pinos presidential residence in Mexico City against the farming of transgenic corn in Mexico, on June 26, 2009. (ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)
A Greenpeace activist impersonating Brazil's Chief of Staff Dilma Russeff takes part in a protest against the authorization to grow transgenic rice during a meeting of the National Biosecurity Technical Commission (CYNBIO) at the Science and Technology Ministry in Brasilia October 15, 2009. (JOEDSON ALVES/AFP/Getty Images)
Greenpeace activists distribute samples of transgenic rice as part of a protest against the authorization to grow transgenic rice during a meeting of the National Biosecurity Technical Commission (CYNBIO) at the Science and Technology Ministry in Brasilia October 15, 2009. (JOEDSON ALVES/AFP/Getty Images)
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A giant banner depicting a farm, is seen as Greenpeace activists hold banners to protest against the genetically modified (GMO) food production in front of the parliament building of Budapest on February 10, 2010. (ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images)
A grey-cow is pictured near Greenpeace activists in traditional Hungarian costume standing in front of a giant banner depicting a farm as others hold a banner reading 'GMO-free Europe' to protest against the genetically modified (GMO) food production in front of the parliament building of Budapest on February 10, 2011 during a demonstration. (ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images)
Greenpeace activists hold a banner to protest against the genetically modified (GMO) food production in front of the parliament building of Budapest on February 10, 2010. (ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images)
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An anti-GMO activist holds a banner reading 'Science without conscience is but the ruin of soul' during an action to call for the ban of the 'MON 810', a variety of genetically modified maize (corn) developed by Monsanto Company on January 23, 2012 at a Monsanto storehouse in Trebes near Carcassonne, southern France. (ERIC CABANIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Is Branding Food With "GMO" the Kiss of Death?
Prop 37 in California proposes that genetically modified food be labeled "GMO". If you knew your food was genetically modified, would you still eat it?