In Oregon, both sides prepare for GMO food fight

In Oregon, both sides prepare for GMO food fight

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by Keely Chalmers, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on May 21, 2014 at 6:59 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 21 at 9:03 PM

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. -- It was a big win for the campaign to ban genetically modified crops. Voters in both Jackson and Josephine counties voted to ban GMOs Tuesday.

The recent vote begs the question: Could mandatory GMO labeling be next?

One Oregon group thinks so. Oregon GMO Right to Know is collecting signatures to get a measure on the November ballot that would require all food sold in Oregon that contain GMOs be labeled as "genetically modified."

Unlike other countries, the U.S. currently does not require such labeling.

Supporters of the measure say it gives consumers the information they need to make their own choice whether to eat genetically modified food.

Opponents argue not only would an Oregon-only law be a regulatory nightmare, it would be costly and consumers would ultimately pay the price. 

“It’s a relatively new technology … it’s only been around for 15 years and the science is still out on GMOs,” said David Rosenfeld, executive director of OSPIRG. “At the very least, let’s let consumers decide for themselves until the science works itself out.”

Others say the change would be costly. 

“The estimates range from $100-$500 on what it would add to the average family’s food bill every year,” said Scott Dahlman, executive director of Oregonians for Food and Shelter.

Last November, voters in Washington narrowly rejected a similar measure after labeling opponents raised a record $20 million to fight it.

The group has to get more than 87,000 signatures by July 3rd to get the GMO-labeling initiative on the ballot.

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