An Update to the Oregon GMO Labeling Campaign

A few days ago I received my voters’ pamphlet for the Oregon general election.  Measure 92 requires food manufacturers and retailers to label “genetically engineered” foods.  Current law does not require labeling of “genetically engineered” food.  Measure 92 defines “genetically engineered” food as food produced from organisms with genetic material changed through in vitro nucleic acid techniques and certain cell-fusing techniques.  Traditional plant-breeding techniques like hybridization is exempt.

Measure 92 does not apply to animal feed or food served in restaurants.  Measure 92 does not apply to alcoholic beverages, or prepared restaurant food because they are currently outside the food labeling system laws.

The measure requires:

  • retailers of genetically-engineered raw food to include “genetically Engineered” on packages, display bins, or shelves.
  • Suppliers must label shipping containers.
  • Requires manufacturers of packaged food produced entirely or partially by genetic engineering to include “Produced with Generic Engineering” or “Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering” on packages.
  • Directs agencies to implement law.
  • Permits states, injured citizens to sue
    • manufacturers, retailers for knowing/intentional violation
    • For attorney fees for prevailing citizen.

The measure creates a labeling law effective January 1, 2016, for raw and packaged foods for human use, wholly or partly made through genetic engineering. Foods sold ready to eat at bake sales, restaurants and cafeterias would not be subject to labeling.  I am supporting a YES vote.  It is our right to know what foods contain genetically modified or genetically engineered organisms.

Labeling

  • would provide Oregonians more control over food purchasing decisions.
  • could benefit Oregon family farmers that grow traditional crops by increasing public demand for crops that are not genetically modified or engineered.

U.S. food producers already label their GMO food sold to 64 countries including Australia, Japan, and most of Europe.