Health & Human Services

Coca-Cola Helps Set Fundraising Record Against Washington's Food-Labeling Initiative

October 29, 2013

First, it smashed the record for fundraising by a campaign opposing a statewide ballot measure.

Now, the No on I-522 Committee holds the title for most money raised by any initiative campaign in Washington state history, period.

Bankrolled by out-of-state biochemical giants and food-industry heavyweights, the campaign to defeat food-labeling Initiative 522 broke the $21.4 million mark in total contributions on Saturday, the latest campaign-finance records show.

The state’s old record — set in 2011 by Costco-backed supporters of the liquor privatizing Initiative 1183 — had been $20.1 million.

If a food sold in retail stores in Washington state contains genetically engineered ingredients, I-522 would require that it be disclosed with labels on the fronts of packages.

The No on 522 campaign broke the previous fundraising record with last week’s contributions of $3.8 million from the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) political-action committee and $460,000 from DuPont Pioneer.

With $11 million in cash contributions to date, the GMA remains the No campaign’s top donor. The food-industry group — financed by Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, General Mills, NestleUSA and ConAgra Foods, among others — only revealed its funders earlier this month after Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued it for campaign disclosure violations.

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