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Measure 92 To Label Genetically Modified Foods (GMO’s) in Oregon

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Oregon Votes on GMO Labeling

Measure 92 to Label Genetically Engineered Foods (GMO) has become the most expensive ballot measure campaign in Oregon History.  Monsanto and other big companies have spent millions attempting to defeat this ballot measure.

Oregon’s Measure 92 is a ballot measure requiring that food manufacturers and retailers label raw or packaged foods as “genetically engineered” foods.  The current law in Oregon and federally does not require “Genetically Engineered” food to be labeled.  If measure 92 passes even food that is all or partially genetically engineered will require a label that says, “Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering.”  The statute defines genetically engineered food as “food produced from organisms with genetic material changed through in vitro nucleic acid techniques and also some cell-fusing techniques.”  The current statute as written exempts traditional plant-breeding techniques like hybridization.  Measure 92 does not apply to the feed animal feed or food served in restaurants.

Food giant Monsanto and other big agriculture companies are pouring money into Oregon to defeat measure 92.  Proponents of measure 92 claim the law is poorly written and would require foods to be labeled genetically engineered even though they aren’t.  They also argue that mandating labeling requirements at the state level instead of the federal level would raise food prices on Oregon families.

Advocates of measure 92 say that consumers have a right to know what is in the food they are eating.  Jackson County farmers Jared and Hannah Watters are part of a state wide ad campaign in which they claim, “Our farm was one of the largest farms in Jackson County growing genetically engineered crops, but when they learned that even with the best practices these crops contaminate and destroy other farmer’s traditional crops, so we stopped growing genetically engineered crops.”  Other advocated of 92 say GMO food can be harmful to human health due to pesticide residues and altered crop genetics and consumers have a right to know what food they are eating.

In Oregon the fight to label GMO food has turned into the most expensive ballot measure in the states history.  Food giants Monsanto, Kraft, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and Kellogg have spent nearly 3 times the amount of the yes campaign to defeat measure 92.

I read the text of Measure 92 and I think overall it is a well-written bill.   I agree with the yes on Measure 92 campaign that people have a right to know what is in their food and I’m not surprised by the amount of money giant agriculture and food companies are spending to defeat this measure.  I have read studies where people are given a choice between GMO and non-GMO products and by a large margin they choose non-genetically modified products.  If the product is not labeled then people don’t think about it and will choose their favorite or the cheapest product.  The giant agriculture companies have obviously seen these studies and know if products are labeled genetically modified people will buy less of them, which in turn will hurt their profit margins.  Do you think Oregonians have a right to know what’s in our food?  Remember the last day to vote is November 4th.