Oregon Right to Know

We have the right to know what's in our food!


Race to Require Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods Remains Too Close to Call – Trailing by Less than 1,500 Votes, Mandatory Statewide Recount Now Expected

With several thousand ballots yet to be tallied and late votes breaking hard in favor of Measure 92, razor-thin margin in initial count has narrowed to well within the 0.2 percent threshold for a mandatory recount

Portland – The latest ballot counts now make it clear that Measure 92, which would require labeling of genetically engineered foods, is still too close to call and headed for a mandatory statewide recount.

With the yes side making big gains in the late counts and currently trailing by a razor-thin margin of 1,484 votes, or 0.1 percent, several thousand previously challenged and other ballots remain to be counted, potentially enough to change the outcome of the race.

That margin has continued to tighten sharply as late votes are tallied, dropping from more than 4,000 vote margin to less than 1,500 votes after Multnomah County added more than 7000 votes late yesterday to the overall tally. It is now clear that Measure 92 is one of the closest statewide races in Oregon state history.

“We’ve known since election night that this race is too close to call. Instead of throwing in the towel when we trailed narrowly in the first vote counts, the Yes on Measure 92 campaign went to work. We activated our campaign staff and hundreds of volunteers over the last week to ensure that every possible valid vote is counted,” Kaushik said. “Our efforts have led in recent days to thousands of Oregon voters correcting signature issues so that their valid ballots will be counted and their voices heard in this election. Those votes are being added to thousands of other late ballots that still have yet to be tallied – many of them in counties that supported Measure 92.”

The campaign’s projections show the current 1,484 vote margin could tighten further before the initial count is finally done. The final margin on the initial count will be well within a 0.2 percent margin – or less than about 3,000 votes apart – that state law sets as a threshold for a mandatory recount.

On Wednesday night, Fox 12 political analyst, respected Portland pollster Tim Hibbits, retracted his previous assessment that Measure 92 had lost and also declared the race too close to call. He confirmed that his assessment shows the race moving to a mandatory recount.

“That Measure 92 is headed to a mandatory recount is a huge victory in itself. Despite the Yes on Measure 92 campaign being massively outspent by $12 million by the out-of-state chemical companies and food conglomerates that oppose labeling, nearly 750,000 Oregonians saw through the No side’s false and cynical scare tactics and stood up for transparency and accountability in our food system,” Kaushik said.

“Those hundreds of thousands of voters, and Yes on 92’s thousands of tireless grassroots volunteers across the state, believe we have a right to know what is in the food we eat,” Kaushik said. “Like the residents of 64 other countries around the world, we have a right to know whether our foods are being engineered in a lab to tolerate massive doses of herbicide and pesticide spraying – pesticides that end up in our soil, air and water, and on the food that we eat.”

Kaushik added, “With the count continuing to tighten we are optimistic that when the recount is complete Measure 92 will prevail, but we want to be clear about one thing: regardless of the final outcome of the mandatory recount, the labeling issue is not going away. This movement continues to grow and build support across this state and around the country, and that growth will continue. Those of us who support labeling and backed Measure 92 see this as an effort that will get stronger and stronger until we reach the day when every American is provided the information they need to make informed decisions about the food they eat and feed their families.”


Have any questions about Voting?

When is my ballot due?

You have until 8pm on Tuesday, November 4.


I didn’t get my ballot. What should I do?

If you haven’t received your ballot by October 21, 2014, call or visit your county elections office.


My ballot got destroyed or damaged. What should I do?

You can get a new ballot from your county elections office. Bring your damaged ballot with you.


I made a mistake on my ballot. Can I correct it?

You’ll need to get a new ballot from your county elections office. Bring your old ballot with you. Do not mail it in.


When is the last day I can mail my ballot?

Most people feel safe to mail their ballots up to three days before elections (Saturday, November 1.) If you live in a rural area, allow extra time.


Do postmarks count?

No, your ballot must be received by 8pm on Tuesday, November 4.


Where can I drop off my ballot?

You can mail your ballot or you can visit your local dropsites. You can find a list of those sites at www.sos.state.or.us/dropbox.


How can I know if my ballot was received?

You can call your county elections office or visit www.oregonvotes.org and click the “My Vote” icon. It may take a few days for county elections and www.oregonvotes.org to process receipt of your ballot.


Am I registered to vote?

You can check to see if you’re registered at the Oregon Secretary of State’s website, at www.oregonvotes.org. Click on the “My Vote” icon.


Anything else? Call your County Elections Office.


County Election Office Phone Numbers (See complete list below)

  • Clackamas: (503) 655-8510 / TTY (503) 655-1685
  • Deschutes: (541) 388-6546 / TTY 1-800-735-2900
  • Jackson: (541) 774-6148 / TTY (541) 774-6719
  • Lane: (541) 682-4234 / TTY (541) 682-4320
  • Multnomah: (503) 988-3720
  • Washington: (503) 846-5800 / TTY (503) 846-4598


Overflowing ballot boxes or other reports of election concerns should be directed to the appropriate County Elections office.

County Address City Phone
Baker 1995 3rd St. Suite 150 Baker City (541) 523-8207
Benton 120 NW 4th St. Room 13 Corvallis (541) 766-6756
Clackamas 1710 Red Soils Court, Ste 100 Oregon City (503) 655-8510
Clatsop 820 Exchange St, Ste 220 Astoria (503) 325-8511
Columbia 230 Strand St. St. Helens (503) 397-7214 x8444
Coos 250 N. Baxter Coquille (541) 396-3121 x301
Crook 300 NE Third, Rm. 23 Prineville (541) 447-6553
Curry 29821 Ellensburg Ave Gold Beach (541) 247-3297
Deschutes 1300 NW Wall St., Suite 200 Bend (541) 388-6546
Douglas 1036 SE Douglas Rm.124 Roseburg (541) 440-4252
Gilliam 221 S. Oregon St., Rm. 200 Condon (541) 384-2311
Grant 201 S. Humbolt, Suite 290 Canyon City (541) 575-1675
Harney 450 N. Buena Vista Burns (541) 573-6641
Hood River 601 State St. Hood River (541) 386-1442
Jackson 1101 W. Main St. Suite 201 Medford (541) 774-6148
Jefferson 66 SE “D” St. Suite C Madras (541) 475-4451
Josephine PO Box 69 Grants Pass (541) 474-5243
Klamath 305 Main St. Klamath Falls (541) 883-5157
Lake 513 Center St. Lakeview (541) 947-6006
Lane 275 W 10th Ave Eugene (541) 682-4234
Lincoln 225 W. Olive St. Room 201 Newport (541) 265-4131
Linn 300 4th Ave. SW Albany (541) 967-3831
Malheur 251 “B” St. W., Suite 4 Vale (541) 473-5151
Marion 4263 Commercial St. SE #300 Salem (503) 588-5041
Morrow 100 S Court St. Heppner (541) 676-5604
Multnomah 1040 SE Morrison St. Portland (503) 988-3720
Polk 850 Main St. Dallas (503) 623-9217
Sherman PO Box 365 Moro (541) 565-3606
Tillamook 201 Laurel Ave. Tillamook (503) 842-3402
Umatilla 216 SE 4th. St. Pendleton (541) 278-6254
Union 1001 4th St. Ste. D La Grande (541) 963-1006
Wallowa 101 S. River St. Enterprise (541) 426-4543 x15
Wasco 511 Washington St., Room 201 The Dalles (541) 506-2530
Washington 3700 SW Murray Blvd. Ste. 101 Beaverton (503) 846-5800
Wheeler 701 Adams Street, Suite 204 Fossil (541) 763-2400
Yamhill 414 NE Evans St. McMinnville (503) 434-7518


A Reminder to Vote from the Center for Food Safety

EPA Approves New Herbicide Using Major Ingredient in Agent Orange

 The New Herbicide Mix Will Use the Chemical 2,4-D, an Ingredient in Agent Orange Which Has Been Independently Linked to a Host of Medical Problems – Consumers Will Have No Way of Knowing If Their Food Has Been Sprayed With These Chemicals Unless Genetically Engineered Food Is Labeled

Portland – Today, the Environmental Protection Agency approved a new controversial 2,4-D herbicide blend which will allow Dow Chemical’s Enlist corn and soybeans, which are genetically engineered to withstand repeated spraying of the herbicide 2,4-D, to go to market.

2,4-D, produced by Dow Chemical, was a component of “Agent Orange,” the toxic defoliant used in Vietnam. 2,4-D and other herbicides of its class have been independently associated with deadly immune system cancers, Parkinson’s disease, endocrine disruption and reproductive problems.

Dow Chemical developed 2,4-D resistant crops as a solution to so-called “superweeds”: glyphosate (RoundUp)-resistant weeds generated by first-generation genetically engineered crops, which were engineered to tolerate higher doses of RoundUp. These first-generation crops triggered a massive increase in the use of the herbicide glyphosate, followed by an epidemic of glyphosate-resistant weeds.

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) stated, “Today, EPA shunned its duties to protect the environment and safeguard public health by bowing to corporate interests instead of relying on science. For years, the scientific community has been sounding the alarm about the increased use of herbicides and the link to a multitude of health problems. It’s shocking that EPA thinks it’s a good idea to allow the widespread use of a toxic chemical once found in Agent Orange on this nation’s farm fields. EPA should be working to reverse the trend of chemicals that poison our food supply, water and soil. It will be just a matter of time before weeds develop a resistance to 2,4-D, and the chemical industry comes up with an even more dangerous and potent product.”

The USDA has predicted the approval of these crops and herbicides will lead to an unprecedented increase in agricultural use of 2,4-D herbicide by 2020, from 26 million to as much as 176 million lbs. per year.

“The EPA’s environmentally destructive action today highlights the need to pass Measure 92 to label these genetically engineered foods,” said Sandeep Kaushik, a spokesperson for Oregon Right to Know, the campaign supporting Measure 92. “The hundreds of thousands of Oregonians who care about the environment and want to live in a sustainable way have a right to know if the foods they are buying in the grocery store are engineered to encourage a huge increase in the use of a damaging herbicide that was used in Agent Orange.”


Eugene Register-Guard Endorses Measure 92

It’s an information void that supporters of Measure 92 hope to fill in the Nov. 4 election. The initiative by Oregon GMO Right to Know would require manufacturers, retailers and suppliers to label raw and packaged foods produced entirely or partially by genetic engineering. The measure would not apply to animal feed or food served in restaurants, and it would go into effect in 2016.

In coming weeks, Oregonians will be blitzed by ads and mailings from opponents of Measure 92. Much of the funding for these ads is coming from out-of-state food and bio-tech industries — the same interests whose massive spending in 2012 helped defeat labeling initiatives in California and Washington.

If Measure 92 seems familiar to Oregonians, it’s for good reason. In 2002, Measure 27, a GMO labeling measure, was overwhelmingly defeated, losing in every county across the state in part because of a lavishly funded campaign sponsored by Monsanto, DuPont and other producers of genetically engineered products. An editorial in The Register-Guard reluctantly opposed the 2002 measure, which it said was well-intentioned but would put Oregon out of synch with the national market for food products. “A similar national standard would be the most efficient and inexpensive way to respond to the concerns that gave rise to Measure 27,” the editorial observed.

There is still no national standard, due in large part to intensive industry lobbying. But now Oregon would hardly be alone in requiring GMO labeling if Measure 92 passes.

Three states — Vermont, Connecticut and Maine — have enacted labeling laws; Vermont’s will be the first to go into effect in 2016 if it survives court challenges. Voters in Colorado will also decide in November whether their state will require GMO labeling. At least 64 countries, including every country in the European Union and India, Japan, China, Brazil and Russia, have adopted GMO labeling laws.

Since 2002, concern about GMO products has gained traction across Oregon. Earlier this year, voters in two rural, conservative counties in Southern Oregon — Josephine and Jackson — approved bans on GMO crops. The votes followed the discovery of a patch of GMO wheat in Eastern Oregon, a development that prompted Japan and South Korea to suspend imports of the crop over GMO concerns, temporarily closing a $700-million market and prompting an understandable backlash among farmers.

Labeling proponents cite environmental concerns stemming from the increased use of herbicides as a result of crops genetically engineered to withstand their application. The increased usage of herbicides such as Roundup has contributed to the emergence of herbicide-resistant weeds, and proponents say consumers should be able to choose food products that do not contribute to that growing problem.

Supporters note the spread of labeling laws in other countries and their small but growing foothold in the United States — a presence that they rightly say ensures Oregon would not be an outlier if it approves Measure 92. Some activists clearly hope that Measure 92’s passage would help build momentum for federal labeling requirements similar to those already in place in many other countries.

Opponents start from the fundamentally untenable position of having to make the case that consumers shouldn’t have information they want about the food they buy. But they do their best to cover that gaping hole with a flurry of skewed and unsubstantiated arguments that they hope will convince voters to reject Measure 92.

One such argument is that Measure 92 addresses a problem that doesn’t exist. Opponents note that peer-reviewed scientific studies have found no evidence of negative health effects from human consumption of GMOs. But that ignores that genetic engineering is a work in constant progress and that future research on GMO products may find yet-to-be-revealed complications.

But the absence or presence of negative scientific findings is irrelevant if a problem exists in the minds of a majority of voters. If Oregonians have concerns that genetic engineering may have health consequences, then they have the right to know if their food contains GMO ingredients. And they have the same right to know for environmental, cultural, religious or any of a long list of other possible reasons. Moreover, if GMO products are safe, that raises the question of why anyone would oppose informing consumers of their presence in food.

One of opponents’ most curious arguments is that labels would stigmatize GMO products — but why would that be the case if they’re safe and already accepted by the general public? The proposed food labels would merely identify the presence of GMOs and would not include warnings to consumers. The claim that Measure 92, if it passes, would “confuse” consumers is an insult to Oregonians who are fully capable of deciding whether to buy food products that contain genetically modified ingredients.

Labeling opponents claim that Measure 92 would be costly for food producers and consumers — that food manufacturers will have to remake their products for distribution in Oregon. They say those costs would be passed on to consumers — a cost opponents preposterously claim could reach $800 per househould annually.

Interestingly, a study released last week by Portland-based ECONorthwest estimates that requiring labeling of products containing genetically modified ingredients would amount to a median cost to consumers of $2.30 per year — less than a penny a day. That conclusion is reinforced by the experience of European countries, which have reported no significant cost increases as a result of labeling, including on food products shipped by U.S. manufacturers.

Opponents make a more reasonable argument when they say a national standard would be the best way to respond to concerns that gave rise to Measure 92. They’re right, and a proliferation of varying labeling requirements in states across the country could pose some logistical difficulties, certainly none insurmountable, for food producers. But the hard reality is that Washington, D.C., has become a dysfunctional morass that is unlikely to take the initiative on GMO labeling. As has been the case with other issues, most notably climate change, it’s clear states must take the initiative in the hope of eventually pressuring the federal government into taking action.

Opponents also make much of the recent recommendation of the Citizens Initiative Review Commission to oppose Measure 92. It’s true the panel’s 11-9 vote, after four days of debate and discussion, opposed labeling, but it’s worth noting that some of the “no” voters reportedly thought the measure didn’t go far enough because meat and dairy products would be exempt from labeling. And one of the panel’s key findings noted that “labeling genetically engineered foods would provide information to let Oregonians make more informed buying decisions” and that this would offer them more control and transparency over their food-purchasing decisions. The Portland City Club reviewed and endorsed Measure 92. An impressive list of political supporters includes Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber and his Republican opponent, state Rep. Dennis Richardson, as well as U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.

They understand that Oregon should be on the cutting edge of the GMO labeling movement, just as the state in decades past has been on the cutting edge of other environmental initiatives ranging from the beach bill to the bottle bill.

Measure 92 reflects the concerns of a growing number of Oregonians about genetically engineered foods, and the arguments of opponents are flimsy and insulting to the ability of Oregonians to make informed decisions. Voters should approve Measure 92.

Medford Mail Tribune Endorses Measure 92: Food Labeling Measure is a Reasonable Step

Opponents of Ballot Measure 92, which would require the labeling of food sold in Oregon that contains genetically modified organisms, want to make the measure about the unproven health effects of eating GMOs. It’s not.

Measure 92 is about consumers having enough information about the food they buy to decide whether to purchase it. That’s a reasonable request.

The processed food industry is understandably opposed to enacting a new requirement that foods be labeled if they contain GMO ingredients. Given that the vast majority of corn, soybeans and canola grown in this country have been genetically modified, that’s a lot of food. Think of how many foods contain corn syrup, soy products and canola oil.

Not surprisingly, the opposition is largely coming from out-of-state food companies, along with out-of-state money. Opponents managed to defeat labeling initiatives in California and Washington, hugely outspending supporters, although the margin of defeat in California was only 2 percent, suggesting that Oregon’s measure has a solid shot at passing.

Opponents say adverse health effects from ingesting GMO food have not been proven. That’s true; in fact, a team of Italian scientists came up with nearly 1,800 studies of GMO foods (the majority of them independent of any GMO-related funding source) done between 2002 and 2012 and not one of them found any evidence of negative health effects from consuming GMO’s.

Though that may be true, that’s not the point with this measure. There is doubt among many people, and fear that genetic engineering may have consequences that we do not yet recognize. Enough doubt exists that sizable numbers of consumers want to know what foods to avoid. That’s not unreasonable.

Opponents say labeling would be costly, raising the price of food. But European countries that require labeling have not seen significant cost increases. And a new study released Wednesday by the respected research firm ECONorthwest concluded Oregon’s labeling measure would result in a median increase to the consumer of $2.30 per year.

Measure 92 would not apply to animal feed, to meat or dairy products from animals fed GMO feed, or to restaurant meals, because those fall under different regulations and are not subject to labeling requirements.

Ballot Measure 92 appears to be a carefully worded initiative that simply requires food manufacturers to provide consumers basic information about what’s in their products. We recommend a yes vote.

For the full article, Click Here. 


Consumers Union: GMO labeling will cost consumers less than a penny a day

A new analysis commissioned by Consumers Union, the policy arm of Consumer Reports, and conducted by the independent Portland-based economic research firm, ECONorthwest, found from a review of published research that the median cost to consumers of requiring labeling of genetically engineered food, also known as genetically modified (or GMO) food, is $2.30 per person annually. The report is available online now here.

“That’s less than a penny a day for each consumer—a tiny fraction of the cost estimates put out by industry and certainly a very small price to pay for consumers’ right to know if their food has been genetically engineered,” said Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union.

Consumers Union strongly supports Oregon’s GMO labeling ballot initiative, Measure 92. “Given the minimal cost to consumers, the increased herbicide use involved in growing almost all genetically engineered crops, as well as the failure of government to require human safety assessments before genetically engineered foods reach the marketplace, GMO labeling is well worth it,” Halloran said. “Companies change their labeling all the time and with GMO labeling costing so little, it is likely some producers won’t even bother to pass the minimal increase on to consumers.”

Consumers Union disputes claims made in ads opposing Measure 92 that labeling will force farmers and food producers to spend  “millions” and increase food costs for consumers. The group also takes issue with the assumptions made by industry-funded studies that it says have overestimated the cost of similar GMO labeling proposals in California, Washington and New York—putting the cost at $100-$200 annually (or $400-$800 for a family of four).

“Industry cost estimates incorporate unrealistic assumptions about how GMO labeling requirements will drive food producers to switch to all organic ingredients, which would be much more expensive. However, there is no factual basis for this assumption and we believe producers will continue to sell GMO foods once they are labeled, and many consumers will continue to buy them, with no discernible price impact,” asserted Halloran. “Measure 92 simply requires foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients to be labeled so that consumers can make an informed choice.”

Genetically engineered foods are already required to be labeled in 64 foreign countries, including many where American food producers sell their wares. Labeling has not increased food prices in those countries, according to Consumers Union.

“Producers are required to label foods that are frozen, from concentrate, homogenized, or irradiated, as well as a food’s country of origin. Poll after poll has found that more than 90 percent of consumers want foods that are genetically engineered to be labeled,” said Halloran.

In addition to the Oregon initiative, a GMO labeling requirement is on the ballot in Colorado in November. Vermont has already passed legislation requiring GMO labeling, and legislatures in dozens of other states are considering similar labeling bills.

For the original article, Click Here. 

For the study, Click Here.

Oregonian: GMO labeling would cost consumers $2.30 per year

Read the original article by Clicking Here. 

For a link to the Consumers Union study, Click Here.

Requiring labeling of products containing genetically modified ingredients would amount to a median cost to consumers of $2.30 per year, according to a study released Wednesday.

“That’s less than a penny a day for each consumer,” said Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives at Consumers Union, the policy arm of Consumer Reports. “A tiny fraction of the cost estimates put out by industry and certainly a very small price to pay for consumers’ right to know if their food has been genetically engineered.”

The study, conducted by Portland-based ECONorthwest, comes amid high-spending campaigns by groups both for and against Measure 92, the GMO labeling initiative on Oregon’s November election ballot.

Halloran said the results disprove anti-labeling television ad claims that mandatory labeling of GMO products could cost anywhere from $400 to $800 annually.

Robert Whelan, a senior economist with ECONorthwest, said the effort involved pulling together “every bit of research we could find” on the topic of costs associated with GMO labeling requirements.

Relevant cost estimates presented in the 30 or so studies reviewed ranged from 32 cents annually to $15.01 per consumer per year, he said. The median cost, he said, amounted to $2.30.

The 14-page study includes research conducted both in the United States and internationally.

“We also have the experience of 64 other countries to teach us that labeling of GMO products does not involve significant price increases,” said George Kimbrell, a senior attorney with the Center for Food Safety, which favors mandatory labeling. “If American food companies can sell their food products in those countries without raising their prices, we can do that here, too.”

The question of how much mandatory labeling of GMO products would cost consumers has been central to both campaigns.

A call to the No on 92 Coalition was not immediately returned. We will include that campaign’s response to the new study as soon as we hear from them.

With about five weeks left until the Nov. 4 election, Measure 92 is, as predicted, shaping up as one of the costliest ballot measures in state history.

The No on 92 Coalition has raised about $5.4 million this year, much of it from grocery manufacturers and food and drink companies, according to Oregon Secretary of State financial filings. The group has about $651,000 on hand.

Yes on 92 has raised $2.8 million, according to campaign filings, and has about $400,000 on hand.

The original article can be found by Clicking Here. 

For a link to the Consumers Union study, Click Here.

KOIN (Video): Yes on 92 Campaign Goes on the Air

Oregonian: Campaign Over Labeling Genetically Modified Foods Hits the Airwaves

PORTLAND — In a TV ad paid for by advocates of labeling genetically modified foods in Oregon, voters are told 64 countries have such requirements and labels didn’t lead to an increase in their food costs.

Opponents of GMO labeling have released an ad that says the opposite: Labels would be costly for food producers and consumers and would not show which ingredients in a product are modified.

With a decision on the Nov. 4 ballot measure just five weeks away, the two opposing camps combined have reported contributions of nearly $3 million and expenditures of more than $2 million, including advertising. It’s a sign of what’s still to come.

This is round three in the GMO labeling match in recent years. Similar measures in California and in Washington state failed narrowly after millions of dollars were spent, mostly by labeling opponents.

If adopted, the initiative by Oregon GMO Right to Know would require manufacturers, retailers and suppliers to label raw and packaged foods produced entirely or partially by genetic engineering. The measure would not apply to animal feed or food served in restaurants. It would be effective January 2016.

The Unites States does not require labeling of genetically engineered foods. Three states — Vermont, Maine and Connecticut — have passed labeling laws, although they don’t take effect immediately. A similar measure also recently qualified for the ballot in Colorado.

Labeling supporters say there aren’t enough studies on the impacts of GMOs, so consumers have a right to know if they are eating them. Gov. John Kitzhaber, who is running for re-election, recently came out in support of the measure, as did Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports.

Critics say mandatory labels would mislead consumers into thinking that engineered ingredients are unsafe, which scientists have not proven. As in previous cases, the anti-labeling campaign is chiefly financed by out-of-state food corporations and biotech companies that grow engineered crops; endorsers include large state farming groups.

Though it’s not reflected in the early filings, opponents are expected to raise a lot more money than proponents.

The anti-labeling campaign in Oregon has thus far reported just over $1 million in cash and in-kind contributions and has reported spending about half a million, according to filings with the Oregon Secretary of State’s office.

The pro-labeling campaign shows $1.9 million in contributions and expenditures of $1.6 million.

These donations and expenditures are from a month ago because the campaigns have 30 days to make reports.

In both California and Washington state, biotech and other giant food companies vastly outspent opponents — a factor most experts agree helped defeat those measures. In both cases, the measures were defeated by about 2 percentage points.

The anti-labeling campaign spent about $45.6 million in California, compared to $8.7 million by labeling supporters. In Washington state, where the ballot contest went on record as the costliest in state history, opponents spent $33.3 million, compared to $9.8 million collected by the pro-labeling groups.

In Oregon, the labeling issue isn’t new. In 2002, voters soundly defeated a GMO labeling measure. But the attention to GMO’s has grown since then, as has opposition to genetically engineered crops in Oregon.

Earlier this year, voters in two rural, conservative counties in southern Oregon — Jackson and Josephine — approved bans on GMO crops. The vote came on the heels of the discovery of a patch of GMO wheat in Eastern Oregon. That discovery led to Japan and South Korea suspending imports of the crop over GMO concerns, temporarily closing a $700 million market and causing outcry and concern among farmers.

Labeling proponents say that could help turn the tide in Oregon. Ads released by both sides feature Oregon farmers, a tell-tale sign of their importance to the measure’s fate.

Supporters say labels would help family farmers by “letting people know the difference between the traditional food we grow and food genetically engineered in a lab.” Opponents say labels would hurt farmers, because “the last thing we need is a bunch of complex, costly regulations that don’t exist in any other states.”

Labeling proponents also say they’ve learned from pro-labeling campaigns in California and Washington.

“We’ve tightened the language in Measure 92 so the opposition can’t make the same misleading claims they did in both those states,” including making clear that labeling applies only to food meant for human consumption and increasing protections for farmers, campaign spokesman Kevin Glenn said.

The campaign is also focusing more on knocking on doors and registering new voters, Glenn said. The approach seems to be working: The coalition has received donations from nearly 3,000 Oregon donors. Its extensive list of endorsements includes nearly 100 farms and farming organizations, as well as dozens of restaurants, grocers, chefs and other groups.

Opponents call the measure badly written. It would not, for example, require labels for meat and dairy products from animals fed genetically engineered feed. They also say consumers who wish to avoid GMOs already have the choice to buy organic foods.

“This measure provides inaccurate and misleading information, and doesn’t tell consumers what’s in the food,” said Dana Bieber, spokeswoman for the Vote NO on 92 Coalition.

The anti-labeling side has not released a full list of endorsers.

For the original article, Click Here. 

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