A closely watched ballot measure to require labeling of genetically modified foods sold in Washington was defeated Tuesday night after opponents spent heavily on TV ads attacking the initiative.
Results showed Initiative 522 leading in populous King County -- which includes Seattle -- but losing in almost every county in the state. In Clark County, across the Columbia River from Portland, nearly 60 percent of voters were voting no on the measure.
The initiative sparked a record $22 million in spending from food and biotech companies opposed to the measure, and the results could help determine how the issue plays out nationally.
A similar initiative was defeated in California in 2012 by fewer than three percentage points. Opponents spent $46 million fighting the measure there. In Washington, the measure was losing by around 10 percentage points.
Supporters argued that consumers should have the right to know if their food contains genetically engineered ingredients, which now account for more than 90 percent of the corn, soybeans and sugar beets grown in the U.S.