No Costly Food Labeling. NO on 92.
Measure 92 is a costly and unreliable food labeling measure that will appear on Oregon’s November 2014 statewide ballot. It would mandate complex new food labeling regulations in Oregon that don’t exist in any other state. Measure 92 would unfairly hurt our state’s farmers, cost Oregon taxpayers millions, and increase grocery costs for Oregon families by hundreds of dollars per year.
Despite these negative impacts, Measure 92’s flawed food labeling system would not do what it claims: It would not give Oregon consumers accurate or reliable information about which foods actually contain “genetically engineered” (GE) ingredients and which don’t.
Measure 92 is so badly written it won’t tell consumers what’s in their food. In fact, two-thirds of the food and beverages sold in Oregon would be exempt from the labeling requirement. Many other foods would have to be labeled even if there are no GE ingredients in them, while thousands of products would be exempt even if they contain or are made with GE ingredients. All these exemptions and poorly written requirements would provide consumers inaccurate and unreliable information about our food.
Measure 92 would be costly to consumers. Studies in Washington, California and New York estimated mandatory labeling requirements as proposed in Measure 92 would increase grocery costs for a family of four by over $450 per year. This is because food companies would be forced to remake their products with higher-priced, non-GE ingredients in order to avoid placing a label on the product. And these costs will be borne by those who can least afford it: low income and fixed income families.
Measure 92 would create costly new government bureaucracies. Not one, but two new state bureaucracies would be created to monitor, inspect and test thousands of food products in thousands of stores and on thousands of farms around the state. The measure provides no limit to the amount of spending of taxpayer dollars to regulate and enforce this measure. We have far-higher priorities for state spending in Oregon. Oregon family farmers and small businesses would be hit the hardest under Measure 92. Agriculture is one of our state’s leading industries. Measure 92 would put Oregon farmers and food companies at a competitive disadvantage by forcing them to implement costly new labeling, packaging, distribution and recordkeeping requirements that do not exist in any other state.
Measure 92 would authorize a new class of bounty-hunter lawsuits. Trial lawyers—or any citizen—would have a right to sue a food manufacturer or store owner—or any farmer who operates a farm stand or makes food products—to “enforce” it’s labeling requirements. This encourages frivolous, “shakedown” lawsuits and drives up production costs.
Consumers already have the opportunity to choose foods made without GE ingredients if that is what they prefer. Existing labels already provide consumers with a more reliable way to choose products made without GE ingredients by choosing foods labeled "organic" or "non-GMO." Thousands of such products are already available in grocery stores around the state. Measure 92 is so poorly written it actually conflicts with these nationwide labeling systems.
Measure 92 is all costs and no benefits. Oregonians rejected a similar labeling measure in 2002. That was the right decision then and it’s the right decision now.