July 11th, 2014 7:20 am | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: Health, Politics, Business, Activism

Organic Consumers Fund Gives Another $100,000 to GMO Measure

Campaign likely to battle Monsanto, profiled in current Bloomberg Businesweek


A group called the Organic Consumers Fund has made a second $100,000 contribution to Oregon GMO Right to Know, the political action committee behind a proposed November ballot measure seeking to label genetically modified organisms.  

That contribution brings GMO Right to Know's total raised this year to $1.3 million.

Meanwhile the current issue of Bloomberg Businessweek takes a deep dive into the company that is likely to lead the opposition to GMO labeling: Monsanto. In an article tilted "Inside Monsanto, America's Third-Most-Hated Company," reporter Drake Bennett  examines the agribusiness giant's operation and notes the political threat to the company's enormous investment in genetically modified foods: 

Widespread public suspicion of GM crops has not stopped their spread: According to the Department of Agriculture, 90 percent of the corn and cotton and 93 percent of the soybeans planted in the U.S. last year were genetically modified. These are commodity crops used mostly for animal feed and fuel ethanol, but they also provide the corn syrup in bottled beverages and the soy lecithin in chocolate bars. And with the public still leery of the technology, it was perhaps inevitable that after a stretch of relative quiet the GMO wars would heat up again. The latest front is over food labeling: In the past two years, ballot initiatives that would have mandated labeling narrowly lost in Washington State and California; in May, Vermont’s governor signed a bill into law.

In California and Washington, labeling opponents defeated labeling ballot measures by two percentage points in 2012 and 2013. Earlier this year, voters in Jackson County, Ore. approved a ban on the use of GMO seeds in that county, a move which goes far beyond labeling.

With that backdrop, there's every reason to believe that the GMO labeling fight this November will be by far the biggest dollar campaign on the ballot and probably the most expensive ballot measure fight in Oregon history, eclipsing 2007's Measure 50, a tobacco tax increase on which the two sides spent a combine $16.2 million. Monsanto has bankrolled opposition to GMO labeling in other states and although the company has not yet started funding a political action committee here, the same political consultants who've worked against labeling elsewhere are assembling a team in Oregon.
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