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A referendum in Oregon that would have required that foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) be labeled as such was defeated soundly on Tuesday, with 73 percent of the votes cast saying “no” to the proposal as of this posting.

The defeat was a victory for the biotechnology industry, which helped to finance a $5 million campaign against the proposed mandate.

"Overall the message that resonated most with voters was these labels would be unnecessary, expensive and misleading," Pat McCormick, a Portland public relations executive who ran the campaign against Measure 27, told the Associated Press. "There is not much here to say it represents any kind of consumer concern. That was about as emphatic a `no' people are likely to give."

However, proponents of the measure signaled their intention to bring it back to the voters in 2004, as well as push for similar legislation in other states.

"I felt like we are just a spark that has ignited a whole movement across this nation," Donna Harris, an organizer behind the proposal, told the AP. "It's disturbing to see corporations spend that much money just because consumers want to know what's in the food they're eating."
KC's View:
According to The Oregonian, voters there ranked this proposal as “important”…and some said that the reason they voted against it was that they felt any regulation of food labeling ought to be national, not regional or driven by the states.

While we think that accurate, full-disclosure labeling can only help the food industry in the long term, we recognize that doing it on a state-by-state basis probably isn’t the most efficient way to go about it. While the Oregon proposal has been defeated, we believe it is just the opening salvo in a longer war, and that the issue of GMOs in food and the labeling of them will be high on the radar screen for years to come.