PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — To label or not to label genetically modified foods (GMOs)? That is one of several questions Oregonians are being asked to vote on come November.
Consumer Reports recently released test results on 80 corn and soy-based products, including cereals, candy bars, chips and even infant formula. Their findings showed that many common foods contain GMOs.
“We’re not saying that these crops are all inherently unsafe. We simply say – and there’s a global agreement – is there are safety issues that are raised by this technology,” said Michael Hanson with the Consumers Union.
The union said the biggest issue is that genetic engineering makes crops more resistant to pesticides – something that in turn could affect the long-term health of people.
“Genetically engineered crops are directly responsible for a 527 million pound increase in herbicide use,” said David Rosenfeld with OSPIRG, which is “a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests.”
Meanwhile, opponents of labeling are putting their money where their mouths are. So far, they have spent $5.7 million, according to Oregon’s Secretary of State. The biggest contributors include Monsanto, Target and General Mills.
Contributions to Yes on 92 currently stand at $3.4 million and include certain supermarket chains such as Zupan’s and Whole Foods.
“The problem with Measure 92 is that it delivers inaccurate information to Oregon consumers, it fails on that fundamental right to know [and] it raises costs on Oregon consumers hundreds of dollars a year,” said Colin Cochran with No on 92.
Three states – Vermont, Maine and Connecticut – already have a GMO labeling law, but it failed in California and Washington.
So, what makes Measure 92 any different?
“The substance of the measure is the same. We think Oregonians believe they have a right to know what’s in their food,” said Rosenfeld.
Election Day is Nov. 4. Most Oregonians should start receiving ballots next week.