(Nov. 6) SEATTLE — Despite losing a vote over the required labeling of genetically modified foods by a nearly 3-to-1 margin, labeling proponents are promising to continue their fight.
With about 76% of the vote counted on an Oregon measure that would have mandated the country’s first-ever labeling requirements for foods containing GMOs, 72% of the votes were cast against the measure. About 28% of voters supported it.
Organizers of the Campaign to Label Genetically Modified Foods said in a prepared statement that they would continue to fight for labeling. They said it took a concerted effort by biotech companies to prevent Measure 27 from passing. They blamed millions of dollars funneled into the state for ads opposing the measure for its defeat, which polls had indicated Oregonians initially supported.
But Pat McCormick, spokesman for the Coalition Against the Costly Labeling Law, said the result of the vote clearly represented the will of the people not to be afraid of their food and not to pay extra for labels.
“Oregonians emphatically rejected the efforts by backers of Measure 27 to raise people’s fears about the food they eat,” McCormick said. “While the measure’s ballot title — the words that appear on the ballot — sounded appealing at first blush, the closer voters looked at the measure and its labeling requirements, the less they liked it. They recognized that Measure 27’s labels would be expensive, unnecessary and misleading.”
Measure 27 supporters said in their prepared statement that even though they lost on this election day, a new poll shows that 88% of Americans want genetically engineered foods to be labeled.
Proponents will maintain two Web sites with information about how to oppose GMOs and support labeling. Those are available at www.thecampaign.org and www.voteyeson27.com.
“The battle to label genetically engineered foods clearly is not over,” the labeling group said in its statement. “It has just begun. Labeling is already in place throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and many other countries. It’s just a matter of time — and our collective activist efforts — before the United States grants its citizens the same right to know what’s in our food.”