Support for both sides of Oregon’s Ballot Measure 92 is shaping up in the last days of the election as the measure has become the costliest in Oregon’s history. Total spending on both sides is over $16 million so far, with just a week left until the election.
So, what is Measure 92, and what does it mean for you? Measure 92 would require additional labeling for all foods produced with and/or containing GMOs, and is similar to measures in California and Washington (both of which were defeated in their state elections). Proponents argue that consumers have a right to know whether their food contains GMOs. Opponents contend that, despite extensive research, GMOs have not been proven to be harmful, and requiring labels would hurt small businesses and farmers as well as increase food costs.
Opponents also point out that the bill has many loopholes – milk, meat, and food served in restaurants would be exempt – but proponents argue that these exemptions are acceptable because other countries with GMO labeling laws also make these exemptions.
A study by ECONorthwest, an independent research firm, concluded that Measure 92 would increase food costs. Besides adding labels to products, producers would have to comply with a regulation and compliance process. Because Oregon is the only state in the West that would have the GMO labeling policy, food suppliers would have to design specific packaging and pay high compliance costs to keep selling their products in Oregon. These costs have led several consumer-based groups, including the independent Citizens’ Initiative Review Commission, and farmers’ organizations, including the Oregon Farm Bureau, to oppose the measure.
Measure 92 would inform customers whether or not foods contain GMO’s, but opponents argue the measure’s costs will be unreasonably high, especially when considering that research has yet to prove GMOs are harmful