Earlier this year, two Oregon cities voted at the ordinance level to ban GMO cultivation.
This November, Oregon state residents will have the ability to vote on whether they want genetically modified foods labeled – or not.
There has been an outpouring of interest among Oregonians to vote “Yea” on GMO labeling as evidenced by the petition to get the issue on the ballot.
Signatures needed to put Initiative 44 on the ballot had to number at least 87,213. Oregon Right to Know collected 31,500 above the needed amount, totaling 118,780, as certified by the Secretary of State’s Office recently.
Sandeep Kaushik of Oregon Right to Know said:
In only six weeks, we were able to collect more than 31,500 signatures more than the number needed to qualify – That is a powerful indication that Oregonians understand that protecting the profits of chemical conglomerates and agribusiness giants should not take precedence over the public’s right to know what is in the food they eat and feed their families.
The initiative would require any food produced with GM ingredients to display the words “Genetically Engineered” on either the front or the back of the package. Raw produce, without packaging, would require that retailers place a label nearby. If passed, the law would officially go into effect on January 1st, 2016.
Oregon’s wheat exports were thrown in disarray last year, with the mysterious discovery of biotech test GM wheat that contaminated conventional wheat fields. The news of this event prompted import bans from other countries, provoking economical fears. Now, Oregon’s residents are looking at GMO field mapping and food labeling – but not without staunch opposition from big biotech and agricultural companies.
In fact, while state and city initiatives are making labeling headway, shooting for 2016, a bill introduced at the federal level could undo all of them. It’s ironically called the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014, but those who support GMO labeling are calling it the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act.
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