GMO Labeling Initiatives Fail in Colorado, Oregon

Nov. 5, 2014
Lost by wide margin in Colorado, 1 percent difference in Oregon.

Voters in Colorado on Nov. 4 soundly rejected a ballot initiative calling for labeling laws for genetically modified organisms (GMOs), while a similar initiative in Oregon appeared to fail by just 1.2 percent.

With 84 percent of the vote in, Colorado’s Proposition 105 was losing 68 percent to 32 percent, according to the Denver Post. The Portland Oregonian reported, "Measure 92 trailed by 1.2 percent, with fewer than 51 percent of voters in opposition." Despite the closeness, officials in Oregon were pronouncing it defeated.

The Oregonian also called it "the state's costliest ballot measure on record." Backers of the measure raised more than $8 million – a record for any "yes" side in an Oregon ballot measure campaign. But opponents spent more than $20 million in an effort to prevent Oregon from being the first state to enact a voter-approved GMO labeling law.

(Vermont's legislature passed such a law this spring without a voter referendum; however, it's being challenged in court.)

Similar measures were defeated in California in 2012 and in Washington in 2013.

The Oregonian also reported nearly 90 bills in 29 states addressing labeling have been introduced during 2014 alone.

The Grocery Manufacturers Assn. praised the results. “We are pleased that the voters of Colorado and Oregon both rejected these mandatory GMO labeling measures," said President/CEO Pamela Bailey. "These sorts of state-based GMO labeling proposals would provide consumers with incomplete and inaccurate information, only serving to misinform and mislead them.

“Without a national framework for consistent, science-based food labeling, the patchwork of state labeling standards would require separate supply chains to be developed for each state. This maze of varied regulations based on inaccurate information would cripple interstate commerce throughout the food supply and distribution chain and ultimately increase grocery prices for consumers by hundreds of dollars each year.

“GMA supports the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act introduced by Representatives Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC)," she continued. "This important legislation would eliminate consumer uncertainty created by a state-by-state patchwork of labeling laws, advance food safety, inform consumers and provide consistency in labeling. The bill reaffirms the (FDA) as America’s preeminent authority on food safety and labeling requirements."

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