Back in November of 2012, Proposition 37 calling for mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods in California, was defeated by a narrow margin of 51.4%. If passed, Prop 47 would have required labeling on raw and processed food if it was from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways. The proposition would have also banned companies from labeling or advertising such food as “natural.”
Though California’s proposition failed, the issue has certainly not been set aside. Increasingly, consumers demand the right to know what is in their food, and now the issue of GMO labeling is on the ballot in both Oregon and Colorado.
Measure 92, The Oregon Mandatory Labeling of GMOs Initiative, will be featured on Oregon’s November 4, 2014 statewide ballot as an initiated state statute. Sponsored by the Oregon GMO Right to Know group, Measure 92 would require all foods produced with or containing genetically modified organisms to be properly labeled. The petition committee has raised over a million dollars, with support from notable business including Cliff Bar and Co and Chipotle. Among the top five contributing opponents to the measure include Kellog Co, and Monsanto (not very surprising news here…)
Meanwhile, a similar situation is occurring in Colorado with Proposition 105. Prop 105 calls for labeling of foods containing genetically engineered or modified materials.
While these states could be the first to pass such labeling reforms, there has been much funding against these campaigns. The “No On Proposition 105 Coalition” has spent $6.8 million more than the “Right to Know Colorado” group, and has been reported to have $4.1 million ready to be spent.
Director of Colorado’s “Right to Know” campaign states, “I can’t understand, why would they put $11 million into a Colorado campaign that has less than $500,000? What are they trying to hide?” Meanwhile, In Oregon, anti and pro GMO labeling advocates together have raised over $16.7 million.
The whole country is watching to see if these propositions will take root, and if so, what that would mean for the future of food labeling. If passed, these measures will go into effect in 2016.