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Published in the City Club of Portland Bulletin, Vol. 97, No. 1, July 30, 2014

Ballot Measure 921 proposes to label genetically engineered (GE) food products, also known as genetically modified organisms (GMO).2 The measure, if passed by the voters, would require the labeling of genetically engineered food that contains 0.9 percent or greater of genetically engineered material. The measure would exclude the labeling of alcohol, food served in restaurants, and animal products from animals fed genetically engineered feed.

Your committee's decision to recommend support for the measure hinges primarily on the clear evidence that consumers have a variety of concerns related to the production and consumption of GE foods, and a lack of evidence substantiating the negative effects of labeling that opponents claim the measure would cause.

The concerns presented by the proponents include cultural, health, social, economic, and environmental impacts. Additionally, the committee believes the measure will provide increased market transparency, which will not only address these concerns but could also address secondary concerns, which are included later in this report.

Currently the market is not providing an effective and equitable mechanism for consumers who prefer non-GE foods to shop accordingly. GE labeling will better allow consumers access to the information they seek and has an added potential benefit of allowing more research to be performed on the longterm effects of GE food.

Recommendation: The committee unanimously recommends a yes vote.

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