Tuesday’s narrow defeat of Measure 92, the costliest ballot initiative in Oregon’s history, leaves both sides wondering what is to come.
Measure 92 would have required sellers of food to label products that contain genetically modified organisms (GMO). The measure came down to the wire, failing by 1.2 percent, with less than 51 percent of votes cast in opposition.
The initiative broke all records for cost in a ballot measure. The Yes on 92 campaign raised and spent over eight million dollars, surpassing any expenditures on any Yes campaign in Oregon’s history. The No on 92 campaign raised and spent over twenty million dollars to defeat the labeling requirement.
“At the end of the day, this is a social movement . . . It’s about peoples’ right to know and we know we’re going to eventually prevail, regardless of the outcome in Oregon,” said George Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety.
He assured voters that supporters of GMO labeling will continue advocating for reforms at the state and federal levels. This measure would have been the first to require genetically modified products to be labelled before going to the consumer. Supporters argue that the requirement would help consumers make informed choices in their food purchases.
The No on 92 campaign raised two and a half times as much money as the Yes campaign. Opponents of the measure argue that it would raise food costs while not informing consumers of any meaningful information.
Regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s election, the GMO labeling debate is far from over.