As voters in Washington state get ready to decide whether to require labels on foods containing genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), consumer groups today turned up the heat on food and chemical companies, telling them to steer clear of the campaign.
They sent a petition with more than 125,000 signatures to some of the biggest companies fighting the labeling campaign. It's attracting plenty of national attention because it would make Washington state the first in the nation to mandate labels.
"The support for this petition is more evidence that consumers insist on knowing more about the ingredients in their food and want companies to stop spending millions of dollars to deny them that right," said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, which helped organize the petition drive. "These expensive lobbying efforts by the food and chemical industries are sending consumers the message that they have something to hide."
Of the 65 companies that donated more than $45 million last year to defeat a labeling initiative in California, nearly half have contributed $17 million to defeat the effort in Washington state, according to the consumer groups.
The list of companies fighting the effort in Washington state include Monsanto, Pepsico, Coca-Cola, General Mills and Kellogg's Co., according to documents filed with the Washington state Public Disclosure Commission.