Oregon and Colorado debate GMO-labeling laws

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153697219California s Proposition 37 and Washington s Initiative 522 previously failed at the ballot box, and now Oregon and Colorado will soon be voting on their own GMO-labeling laws Oregon s Measure 92, and Colorado s Initiative 105.

One of Oregon s newspapers, The Eugene Register-Guard, published an editorial this month supporting the labeling law. The editorial states that although peer-reviewed scientific studies have found no evidence that GMOs are unsafe or pose any health risk to humans, it is irrelevant if a problem exists in the minds of majority voters. If Oregonians have concerns that genetic engineering may have health consequences, then have the right to know if their food contains GMO ingredients.

However, Colorado s The Denver Post points out how badly flawed and pointless food-labeling measures will be, all while harming Colorado farmers and food producers. The Denver Post states, Backers of the measure say all they want is transparency ¦such a rule might be relatively harmless if it were carefully written and implemented as part of a national labeling law, but neither is the case.

Colorado s No on 105 campaign has raised almost $10 million in contributions. The opposing Right to Know Colorado GMO campaign has raised a mere $320,000. However, Oregon s Yes on Measure 92 campaign has raised over $4 million, with many contributions coming from surprise the organic food industry. Critics of GMOs often say they don t trust GMOs because it s just a way for agribusiness to make money, while conveniently forgetting that the organic food industry also exists and is trying to make a profit off their fear. While the Oregon s pro-labeling campaign may be financially better off than Colorado s, their anti-labeling campaign has raised more than $7 million.

Hopefully Oregon and Colorado will follow in the footsteps of Washington and California and realize that flawed GMO-labeling laws will accomplish nothing except perpetuating irrational fear and harming their home states food producers.

As ACSH s Ariel Savransky has said many times before, It s the same old story again. These labeling laws are not based on fact, but rather on unjustified fears that GMO foods are dangerous to health. The science does not support this claim. If a consumer really wants to make sure their food does not contain GMOs, there are other ways of doing that. For example, consumers can choose to buy organic foods, shop at stores that are committed to selling only non-GMO foods or buy foods produced by companies who choose to label their foods as GMO free. We here at ACSH are fine with labelling, as long as those companies who are GMO-free do the labelling.

ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom is somewhat skeptical of the right to know phrase. He says, In reality it should be called right to exploit, right to confuse, or right to scare, since this is all that labels will accomplish. And it is purely intentional just another case of the giant organic food industry and its marketing strategy.