Measure 92 is not what it claims to be…
Measure 92 on the November 2014 statewide ballot would mandate a whole separate food labeling system in Oregon that would not exist in any other state. Promoters of Measure 92 claim it’s about labeling genetically engineered foods, or “GMOs.”
In fact, it’s so badly written and full of exemptions that it would not actually tell consumers which foods contain GMOs and which do not. But it would cost Oregon farmers, food companies, taxpayers, and consumers hundreds of millions of dollars.
A separate and costly food production and labeling system just for Oregon
Measure 92 would mandate a whole separate food labeling system just for Oregon that conflicts with existing nationwide labeling regulations, and that would only exist in our state.
That would require farmers and food producers in Oregon and throughout the country to separate, repackage and relabel their products and ingredients just for our state unless they are specially remade with higher-priced, organic or non-GMO ingredients. Several recent economic studies indicate that this would cost farmers, food producers, food manufacturers, and distributors hundreds of millions of dollars — and ultimately increase grocery bills for Oregon families by hundreds of dollars per year.
Sources: Studies by Cornell University 2014, Northbridge Environmental 2012, 2013 & 2014, and the Council for Agricultural Science & Technology 2014; Oregon State Legislative Revenue Office Analysis of Measure 92, August 2014; Oregon Independent Citizens’ Initiative Review of Measure 92, August 2014
Inaccurate and unreliable information for consumers
Measure 92’s complex requirements and exemptions are so badly written they do not provide consumers with reliable information about which foods contain GMOs and which do not. Under Measure 92, thousands of food products would be required to be labeled “genetically engineered” — even if they’re not. Thousands of other foods would be exempt from labeling even if they do contain or are made with GMO ingredients.
Measure 92 arbitrarily exempts from its labeling requirements two-thirds of the foods we buy — even if they are made with or contain GMOs. For example, under Measure 92 meat and dairy products would be exempt from labeling, even if they come from animals raised on genetically engineered feed or injected with GE medications. This conflicts with existing national labeling standards for “organic” and “non-GMO” labels for these products.
Measure 92 also exempts restaurant foods, alcoholic beverages, foods, and beverages sold “ready to eat,” foods in school and hospital cafeterias, and many other food products.
And Measure 92 will not tell consumers which ingredients in food products are GMOs or how much of the product is made of GMO ingredients if any.
Measure 92, Sections 3, 4 & 6; Oregon Independent Citizens’ Initiative Review of Measure 92, August 2014; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Data, 2013; and “Oregon Right To Know.”
Costly new government bureaucracy and lawsuits
Measure 92 would create two new state bureaucracies to enforce and implement its costly regulations. Two separate state agencies would be responsible for writing regulations for our state government to enforce these Oregon-only labeling regulations on thousands of food products at thousands of stores statewide. The Oregon Department of Administrative Services staff estimated that inspection programs to enforce Measure 92 would cost taxpayers more than $14 million every budget cycle. And Measure 92 doesn’t provide any funding source or set any limit on how much these new bureaucracies would cost taxpayers.
Moreover, Measure 92 would give trial lawyers a special new right to sue food producers and store owners — or any farmer who operates a farm stand or makes food products — over the wording on food labels. That would create an incentive for shakedown lawsuits that would cost farmers, businesses, and our court system millions more.
Sources: Oregon Department of Administrative Services Fiscal Impact Summary of Measure 92, July 2014; Measure 92, Sections 4, 5 & 6;
Existing food labels already give consumers a more reliable way to choose foods made without GMO ingredients
Measure 92 conflicts with existing nationwide labeling standards that already provide consumers a more reliable way to choose foods made without GMO ingredients. Foods labeled “organic” or “non-GMO” are made without GMO ingredients and follow national labeling standards to provide a reliable way for consumers to choose these foods if that is what they prefer. Measure 92 conflicts with these national labeling standards.
Measure 92, Sections 4 and 5; Oregon Independent Citizens’ Initiative Review of Measure 92, August 2014.