Oregon Right to Know

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Champion of Food Labeling Laws Visits Oregon

MEDFORD, Ore. - Backers of Measure 92, to require labeling of genetically-engineered ingredients in foods sold in Oregon, are getting some help this week from one of the “big guns” in the food labeling debate nationwide.

Michael Hansen, senior scientist for Consumer Reports, is in Oregon making several stops to debunk what he calls “common myths” from food processors and supermarket chains opposing the ballot measure.

Hansen says mentioning that some ingredients are genetically modified isn’t any more burdensome or expensive for companies than other details now required on a food label.

“You have to label milk whether it’s been homogenized or not,” Hansen says. “You have to label juices whether they’ve been frozen, or from concentrate or fresh-squeezed. Fish, you have to label whether they’re wild-caught or farm-raised. We have country-of-origin labeling. Most importantly, look at irradiation labeling.”

More than 60 countries, adds Hansen, already require genetically-engineered ingredient labeling on foods. Opponents of mandatory labeling have warned it could raise food prices and say there isn’t sufficient evidence these ingredients need to be labeled.

Hansen spent Tuesday in Medford, and visits Eugene, Salem and Portland this week.

Despite similar but unsuccessful GE labeling pushes in California and Washington, Hansen believes Oregon’s Measure 92 vote in November is getting so much attention because it could be the nation’s game changer on this topic.

“If this gets passed in Oregon, I think it’s only a short period of time before there would be a national decision made,” Hansen says. “Even though the industry is spending huge sums of money, they’re just barely winning.”

Legislatures in three states have passed these labeling laws, but Oregon would be the first to pass it by voter initiative. This year, 35 bills on the topic were introduced in 20 states in response to growing consumer interest.

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The Daily Astorian: County Commission supports GMO labeling

The Clatsop County Commission approved a resolution Wednesday to express support for the upcoming Ballot Measure 92, which requires labeling of genetically engineered foods.

The measure, if passed on the statewide ballot Nov. 4, would require all raw packaged food containing genetically modified organisms to carry labeling for the purpose of informing consumers.

The commission voted unanimously in support of the resolution.

Commissioner Peter Huhtala emphasized the potential impact labeling genetically modified foods would have on the local salmon industry.

In the resolution, the commission cited proposed action by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve the sale of genetically modified salmon as a threat to commercial fishing interest.

“Without labeling, the consumer may not know that the salmon they are buying is not one of the world’s most fantastic creatures from the Columbia River or a genetically modified creature,” Huhtala said.

The resolution states labeling genetically modified foods would avoid confusion and allow consumers to avoid eating genetically modified salmon, while continuing to buy wild-caught salmon from Clatsop County fishermen and local processors, if they so choose.

In addition, the resolution explains that if genetically engineered salmon is not labeled, it could decrease consumer demand for all salmon based on concerns about genetically engineered salmon.

Overall, the commission agreed that labeling genetically modified foods would not necessarily increase food prices and that labeling crops is already required in 64 other countries.

“As a producer of food, I would like to respect the consumer and what they are buying,” Commissioner Dirk Rohne, who owns and operates a dairy farm, said.

For the original story, click here.

Portland Tribune: Dish 92 takes on a campaign flavor

Fourteen of Portland’s rock star chefs will serve their best wares this month at “Dish 92,” a fundraising event for the GMO labeling campaign.

The chefs have pledged their support for Measure 92, the November ballot measure to require labeling of genetically engineered food.

Chefs will prepare their favorite appetizers from their restaurants, paired with local wines, brews and spirits.

Participating restaurants include: Abby’s Table, Bar Avignon, Coquine, Fireside, Frice Pastry, Lardo, Tasty n Sons,

Lauretta Jean’s, Luce, Olympic Provisions, Park Kitchen, The Parish, Irving Street Kitchen and Trifecta Tavern & Bakery.

New Seasons Market and Coconut Bliss are presenting the event; sponsors include Organically Grown Company, PDX Wine, Petit Monde Wine Merchant, Starvation Alley Farms, Vivacity Spirits, and Gigantic Brewing Co.

The event is set for 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 22 at The Castaway, 1900 N.W. 18th Ave.

Tickets are $100; visit www.dish92.com to purchase and for more info.

For the original story, please click here.

KOIN 6: Oregon activists announce GMO labeling campaign

KOIN 6 reports

Activists in Oregon have announced a signature gathering campaign to place a ballot measure requiring the labeling of genetically modified foods on the statewide ballot in November.

If adopted, the initiative by Oregon GMO Right to Know would require food 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.

More than 87,000 signatures are needed to qualify for the ballot. The group has until July 3 to collect signatures.

Read the full article here.

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