Monday, July 7, 2014

The Oregon Labeling of Genetically-Engineered Foods, Measure 27 (2002) - Arguments in Opposition

Measure 27 - Arguments in Opposition:

Measure 27 Would Create
a Regulatory Nightmare
for Oregon Restaurant Owners
Measure 27 would force Oregon restaurant owners to provide special warning labels with thousands of menu items served each that aren't 100% "organic." Organic food companies are promoting the labeling scheme, to try to give themselves a competitive advantage over conventional food producers.

State officials estimate regulating
restaurant food labels will cost
nearly $9 million a year.
State officials estimate the Oregon Department of Agriculture will have to monitor more than 400,000 menu items served in Oregon restaurants, actually auditing 100,000 of those items, then sampling and testing 20,000 of them. State restaurant monitoring and inspections will cost the state nearly $9 million per year with nearly $3 million in start-up costs.

Measure 27 would also cost restaurant owners millions more. Restaurants would face a complicated new burden ­ special record keeping and research to track and determine the origin of virtually every product or ingredient used in any dish we serve. Staff time and costs would be passed on to Oregon consumers through higher prices. On top of that, we'd face huge fines and even jail terms if we accidentally use the wrong labels.

Many basic foods would require costly labels.
Basic food items like bread, dairy products, meats and many beverages, would require Measure 27 labels reading "Genetically Engineered," even if they don't contain any genetically engineered ingredients. The labels would be useless. They are just intended to scare consumers away from "non-organic foods" -- even though they are just as safe as "organic" products.

On behalf of all the members of the Oregon Restaurant Association, I urge you to say NO to the Co$tly Labeling Law.

Please Vote NO on Measure 27.
Bill McCormick, President
McCormick & Schmick's Restaurants

(This information furnished by Bill McCormick, Oregon Restaurant Association.)

Measure 27 Shifts Funds from Short-Changed Schools
to Pay for a Meaningless New Food Labeling Bureaucracy.One Teacher's Concerns about Measure 27.
As a teacher, I'm painfully aware of how Oregon's economic slump has forced budget cuts in schools across the state, including where I teach.

At a time when Oregon is struggling to find funds for schools, Measure 27 proposes to create a new state bureaucracy ­ costing taxpayers more than $118 million over the next 10 years ­ to put meaningless labels on foods that aren't 100% "organic."

Schools Would Have to Put Labels on Food and Beverages Served in School Cafeterias, Vending Machines and Concession Stands
To add insult to that injury, Measure 27 is so poorly written that it would require schools like mine to label foods and beverages served in the school cafeteria, in vending machines on school property and at concessions stands during athletic events.

Measure 27 is another example of initiative activists forcing Oregon voters to decide on an innocent-sounding proposal with huge, hidden impacts on government programs, taxpayers and consumers.

When Oregon's economy is sour, proposals like this are even more damaging. School costs make up nearly half of state budget expenditures. So nearly half of Measure 27's costs are likely to come from funds that otherwise would be available to pay for teachers, textbooks and testing ­ all of which have been cut in the current budget crisis.

Measure 27 Is a Right-to-Learn Issue
Backers of Measure 27 claim it's a right-to-know issue, but in fact the information on the labels it requires would be misleading and useless to consumers. I think of Measure 27 as a right-to-learn issue. I believe my students have a right to an adequately funded education. Their right to learn should be the state's top funding priority ­ not some new bureaucratic program designed to further one group's political agenda.

Kraig Hoene
High School Social Studies Teacher

(This information furnished by Kraig J. Hoene.)

  • The Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration and Oregon's Department of Agriculture manage the Federal system of food safety through intense, continual scrutiny. Thousands of university-based, publicly financed research projects provide basis for protection of food and fiber supplies.
  • The consequential loss of jobs, livelihood and tax revenue adds burden to the remaining taxpayers to carry the burgeoning costs of a la carte ballot measures such as Measure 27. By Department of Agriculture estimates, Measure 27 will add $118 million to our already oversized general fund expenses through 100,000 inspections and by adding 60 new staff positions.
  • 4. Consumers would pay higher food costs. In fact, a recent study estimated that Measure 27's labeling scheme would cost an average family of four an additional $550 a year
  • Studies show that, by forcing many common food products to be repackaged or remade with higher-priced ingredients, Prop 37 would cost the average California family hundreds of dollars more per year for groceries.
  • Ultimately, consumers will pay for this through higher costs at the grocery store. In fact, a separate economic study concluded that forcing products to be repackaged or remade with higher priced ingredients would cost the average California family up to $400 per year in higher grocery costs.
  • The average family of four would be forced to shoulder an average of $500 in additional food costs each year and could be as high as $800 per year. (New York)

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