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Northwest News Network

Oregon GMO-Labeling Campaign Submits Signatures

Supporters of an initiative that would require labeling of foods containing genetically engineered ingredients rally in front of the Oregon capitol Wednesday.
Supporters of an initiative that would require labeling of foods containing genetically engineered ingredients rally in front of the Oregon capitol Wednesday.

Oregon voters may get the chance to require food companies to label products that contain genetically engineered ingredients. Sponsors of an initiative to require that turned in more than 150,000 signatures Wednesday in an effort to make the ballot this November.

Supporters of an initiative that would require labeling of foods containing genetically engineered ingredients rally in front of the Oregon capitol Wednesday.
Credit Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network
Supporters of an initiative that would require labeling of foods containing genetically engineered ingredients rally in front of the Oregon capitol Wednesday.

The initiative is relatively simple: It would require genetically engineered foods to be labeled as such. Supporters say the public needs the information to make informed choices about what they put in their bodies.

But a similar initiative failed in Washington state last year after the food and agri-business industry spent a state-record amount of money to defeat it. Another effort failed at the ballot in California in 2012.

Sandeep Kaushik of Oregon Right to Know says campaigners have their work cut out for them.

"There's no question in our minds that we are going to be significantly outspent," he said.

It didn't take long for opponents of mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods to respond. A lobbyist for the pesticide industry issued a statement saying the initiative would lead to higher grocery prices.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network