Oregon GMO labeling bill clears big legal hurdle for 2014 initiative

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Outside a Whole Foods store in Seattle, a cyclist rides past a car promoting a failed November ballot measure in Washington to require labeling of genetically engineered foods. (Credit: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren.)

The proposed ballot measure to require the labeling of genetically modified foods sold in Oregon has just cleared a big legal hurdle. Supporters are now allowed to begin collecting signatures to qualify for the 2014 ballot.

The Oregon Supreme Court rejected arguments that the proposed ballot summary is inaccurate, which opened the way for proponents to start their signature-gathering campaign on Dec. 10. “Oregonians for Food and Shelter had petitioned the Oregon Supreme Court to block the proposed ballot summary, claiming that it doesn’t sufficiently explain exemptions to the labeling law,” writes Mateusz Perkowski of the Capital Press. “The group also fears that the summary doesn’t reflect the ballot initiative’s propensity to increase litigation against food companies over alleged mislabeling.”

To get a measure onto the November 2014 ballot, supporters of labeling for genetically modified organisms would need to get 87,213 valid signatures by the end of June, which can be difficult even for popular proposals. Proponents now shift their focus to carefully navigating forward and appealing to the most number of voters, after a nearly identical measure was narrowly defeated in Washington last month.

Read the full, original story: GMO label initiative summary gets green light

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