Big Food Outspends and Outvotes GMO Labeling Bills in Oregon and Colorado

gmo labeling

While the outcome of Oregon’s GMO labeling bill, Measure 92, is still too close to call, the numbers are tipping slightly against the measure passing by about 2 percentage points at press time.

In Colorado, Measure 105 was “soundly defeated” in a 2-1 margin in yesterday’s election. The “Yes” campaign was outspent by the “No” campaign, which received significant funding from the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association and biotech companies like Monsanto.

The fight for GMO labeling was strong in Oregon, and it became the epicenter for the GMO labeling issue with Measure 92 gaining huge support from companies including Dr. Bronner’s and Ben & Jerry’s. The Consumers Union also came out in favor of passing the legislation, and after disappointing defeats on GMO labeling bills in California and Washington, the pro-labeling community was hopeful that it would finally see a voter victory in Oregon.

The Consumers Union also aimed to dispel myths purported by the GMO companies that labeling foods that contain genetically modified ingredients would cost consumers and farmers thousands of dollars every year per household: Research conducted by the Consumers Union found the average cost to consumers would amount to less than $3 a year per person.

According to Oregon Live, “The measure has already made history, becoming the costliest ballot measure fight in Oregon history. Opponents have raised just over $16 million — also a record for one side — and backers have raised nearly $7 million.”

There were some notable victories for food issues in yesterday’s vote, however. “In Hawaii, Maui County voters considered an initiative that went far beyond labeling. By a slim margin, voters decided to temporarily ban genetically engineered crops,” NPR reports. Hawaii is battling major GMO companies that own open-air test fields across the islands that have been linked to serious human and environmental health issues in the region.

And Berkeley, California has passed a soda tax while a similar bill in San Francisco was rejected.

Find Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

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Image: Oregon Right to Know