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October 21, 2013

1 Min Read
Washington GMO Initiative Draws Opposition from Coca Cola, PepsiCo,  Nestlé

OLYMPIA, Wash.PepsiCo, Inc., Nestlé USA, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company each have donated more than $1 million to defeat a Nov. 5 ballot initiative that would require labeling of genetically modified foods, the Grocery Manufacturer's Association (GMA) disclosed Oct. 18.

In total, businesses affiliated with the GMA have donated $7.2 million to defeat Initiative 522, according to a filing with the Washington Public Disclosure Commission.

GMA revealed the contributions after Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued the association, alleging it violated the state's campaign disclosure laws by concealing the identities of contributors who opposed I-522. In an Oct. 17 press release, GMA said it agreed to disclose the source of funding and form a political committee "in the spirit of continuing cooperation" and in an effort to be transparent.

Among the 34 contributors listed by GMA, PepsiCo led funding with $1.621 million. The four other top funding sources included Nestlé USA ($1.053 million), Coca Cola ($1.047 million), General Mills, Inc. ($598,819) and ConAgra Foods ($285,281). Campbell Soup Company, The Hershey Company and The J.M. Smucker Company were close behind with contributions of $265,140, $248,305 and $241,091, respectively.

Opponents of I-522 contend it will require misleading labels, increase the costs of groceries and provides exemptions for hundreds of foods even if they are made with or contain genetically modified ingredients. Organizations in favor the ballot initiative argue consumers have a right to know if they are eating foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

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