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Agribusiness already fighting Oregon proposal to label genetically modified foods

(Aug. 13, 2002 -- CropChoice news) -- A coalition of food producers, retailers, biotech companies and agricultural groups are campaigning against a Nov. 5 ballot measure in Oregon that would require the labeling of all genetically engineered food and food additives sold in stores and restaurants in the state.

``If this ballot measure passes, it would set a dangerous precedent that would result in significant costs to taxpayers and consumers,'' Gene Grabowski of the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Better Foods told the Associated Press.

In reality, were the measure to pass "most manufacturers simply wouldn't use genetically engineered ingredients, so they wouldn't have to change the labels at all," said Craig Winters, executive director of the Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Food.

The consumer, farm and environmental organizations that favor labeling such foods point to the unknown human health, agronomic and environmental consequences of their use. U.S. farmers have lost markets in European and Asian countries -- most of which have labeling laws -- because of a rejection of these foods and crops.

Passage of the measure would send a strong measure to Washington, D.C. that labeling needs to happen at the national level, Winters said.

Source: Associated Press