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Money Battle In Oregon Food Labeling Measure Mirrors Washington

File photo of signs marking a field of genetically modified corn
Lindsay Eyink
/
File photo of signs marking a field of genetically modified corn

Oregon's Measure 92 appears to be the most expensive ballot measure campaign in the state's history.

File photo of signs marking a field of genetically modified corn
Credit Lindsay Eyink
/
File photo of signs marking a field of genetically modified corn

The big-money battle is over whether to require food manufacturers and retailers to label genetically engineered foods. A similar initiative also set spending records in Washington state last year.

The group that supports the genetic engineering food labeling measure has raised more than $5 million so far. The group opposed to it has raked in about $11 million. More than two weeks remain before Election Day so those numbers will likely grow even higher.

Total spending in last year's Initiative 522 in Washington topped $22 million. It's not clear whether the Oregon measure will ultimately match that, but it appears the fundraising on Measure 92 has already exceeded the state's previous record-setting ballot measure campaign. That was a 2007 fight over a cigarette tax increase to fund children's health care. It failed.

The sources of the big money for and against Oregon's food labeling measure mirrors that of Washington's failed initiative. Food manufacturers and agri-business groups are against it. Consumer groups and organic food distributors are for it.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman covers the Oregon state capitol for JPR as part of the Northwest News Network, a group of 12 Northwest public radio organizations which collaborate on regional news coverage. Chris graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He began his career producing arts features for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana and has been a reporter/announcer for NPR station WNIJ in DeKalb, Illinois. Chris has also reported from overseas, filing stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda.
Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.