A recent survey reveals that the popular opinion is tied: 49 percent of Oregonians support Measure 92, while 45 percent oppose it. Add into the mix, a recent jump in full force of “Big Food” corporations whose $11 million contribution has been used to flood the airwaves with attack ads to sway the undecided votes. These contributions have been so exorbitant that I-92 is now known as one of the “costliest” ballot measures in the state.
This “give late, give big” tactic has proven efficient in past elections. Last year, the same companies—see the list attached—financially contributed to opposing a similar ballot measure in Washington State (I-522), which failed to pass. Thus, these practices partly explain why GMO labeling initiatives have been so difficult to pass in the United States.
But why are these companies so determined to influence these ballot measures? Their main argument is that labeling will (1) confuse the consumers, and (2) will raise costs. However, a recent study undermined these arguments by revealing that I-92, if passed, would only cost consumers $2.30 per year.
There is also a legal and economic reason behind these companies’ involvement, I know, chocking, right? Pollen from a genetically engineered crop can spread for miles. If it touches seeds from local farmers’ crops, it can make it illegal for these farmers to save for next year’s planting and illegal to sell under U.S. patent law. The genetically engineered seeds produced by the Monsantos and Syngentas of the world become these companies’ patented property. This means that local farmers would be unable to collect and use their seeds from one year to the next, which in turn would undermine the economic viability of these farmers. And ultimately, and most importantly, would undermine our access to natural nutritious foods.
If you want to learn more about the contributions made by the supporters and opponents of this measure, click on the link.