Saturday, July 19, 2014 - Label fight heats up in Oregon (2002) Measure 27 - Label fight heats up in Ore.:

An initiative before Oregon voters this month that would require the labeling of genetically engineered foods represents a potential Waterloo for U.S. farmers and food manufacturers. They see it as a beachhead in a global battle against what the United States calls misleading labeling. But proponents say it's a matter of consumer choice.

"It's costly, it sets up an absurdly complex set of regulations, and it raises a safety issue that simply doesn't exist," says Ken Yates of the Northwest Food Processors Association.

Such sentiments help explain why a ballot initiative in Oregon, with a population of only 3.4 million people, has attracted $4.6 million in opposition funding, vs. the $10,000 collected by those who proposed it.

Oregon's Measure 27 would require that labels on any food or drink sold or distributed in the state identify any ingredients that were genetically engineered (GE). That would make the northwestern state, known for its populist politics, the first in the union to do so. Four other states, Colorado, Washington, California and Vermont, took stabs at GE labeling, but Oregon is the only one to get this far.

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