I am going to vote against Measure 27 because I feel that this could possibly be a Pandora's box of needless and unwanted regulations. I do not believe that in the long run this ballot measure will see the desired benefit of helping me as an organic farmer. Rules and regulations always multiply...they do not decrease, especially when the government is involved. I see more and more impossible regulations that will heavily burden the conventional farmers and the very real possibility that I, as an organic farmer, will eventually be hit with some of these paperwork and regulation nightmares. This will not make our food safer, but it will definitely make it harder for the American farmer to compete on the world market that is already unfair.
DON'T BELIEVE THE SCARE TACTICS.
I believe that this ballot measure is largely symbolic and is designed to scare folks about their food supply. This is unnecessary. Measure 27 has been brought forward by organic pro-ponents who would have us believe that conventionally produced food is bad. This seems rather heavy handed.
I think this Measure 27 has been thrust upon us by out-of-state proponents to use our state as a guinea pig for something that has failed in several other states numerous times.
I want people to buy my organic products and to support the values of sustainable agriculture, but I think that we are above scaring people into buying.
Please take a careful look at Measure 27 and vote NO with me.
(This information furnished by Greg Pile, Willamette River Organics, inc.)
If you are concerned about your knowledge of the food you ingest, healthy food, food nutrition, nutrition-oriented disease, starving people around the globe, jobs in Oregon, a diverse economy, sustaining family farms and rural communities, you will not vote for Measure 27.
The issue is not labeling. The issue is protecting the consuming public with scarce resources in a global market place.
The issue is not labeling contents, points of origin or consumer education. It is about improving the human condition, eradicating starvation and addressing disease derived from food deficiencies. Measure 27 steals scarce resources away from these paramount food policy objectives.
The issue is uncontrollable cost of producing food and fiber in Oregon.
The extreme aspect of Measure 27 relates to the uncontrollable expenses and taxes that will have to be borne by the market place. These cumulative costs will be extracted from the producer's pocket, further pushing Oregon producers into extinction.
The Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration and Oregon's Department of Agriculture manage the Federal system of food safety through intense, continual scrutiny. Thousands of university-based, publicly financed research projects provide basis for protection of food and fiber supplies.
The consequential loss of jobs, livelihood and tax revenue adds burden to the remaining taxpayers to carry the burgeoning costs of a la carte ballot measures such as Measure 27. By Department of Agriculture estimates, Measure 27 will add $118 million to our already oversized general fund expenses through 100,000 inspections and by adding 60 new staff positions.
Oregon Department of Agriculture and Economic Development Department
(This information furnished by Bob Buchanan.)
Measure 27 would hinder the continued progress of science in expanding
the world's food supply.
In the last 20 years, biotechnology has become an invaluable scientific tool to improve and increase the world's food supply. Anti-technology proposals, like Measure 27, seek to ban this important, safe technology by scaring consumers into suspecting there's something to fear in their food. As numerous studies and leading health organizations around the world have affirmed, this spurious claim is wholly unfounded.
Extremists in the environmental movement from rich nations like ours seem to be doing everything they can to stop scientific progress. Small, but vociferous anti-science groups are attempting to slow the application of new technology.
While affluent nations can certainly afford to pay more for food produced by so-called "organic" methods, the one billion chronically undernourished people of the low-income, food-deficit nations cannot.
World population doubled from 1960 to 2000, increasing from 3 billion to 6 billion. Food production kept up with population growth because we created and adopted many new technologies better techniques to cultivate soil, new irrigation technologies, more advanced biodegradable pesticides, better genetic strains and better machinery. But by 2050, world population is expected to rise to 9 billion.
While biotechnology alone is not the only answer to feeding the world, it is vital to our continuing quest for genetic improvement of crops an effort that's been underway since the dawn of agriculture more 10,000 years ago.
We can't afford to let anti-science activists force us to reject a tool so vital to food improvement and hunger relief efforts.
Please Vote No on Measure 27.
Norman E. Borlaug, Professor of International Agriculture, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his "Green Revolution" which helped Pakistan, India and a number of other countries improve their food production. Since then he has continued working tirelessly in saving millions from starvation and suffering.(This information furnished by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug.)
Former Chief Counsel of the Food and Drug Administration
Coauthor of Casebook on Food and Drug Law
Lecturer on Food and Drug Law at Harvard Law School
Member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews all food crops developed through biotechnology to assure that they are at least as safe as conventionally bred crops. Leading medical and scientific organizations also have all declared their confidence in the safety of biotech foods including the American Dietetic Association, American Medical Association, Institute of Food Technologies, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, National Academy of Sciences and World Health Organization.
Food labels required by Measure 27 would mislead consumers.
During my tenure as Chief Counsel of FDA, I was a strong proponent of informative food labeling. I prepared the first regulations requiring nutrition labeling, complete ingredient labeling, and other requirements for truthful and nonmisleading food labeling. That's why Measure 27 is so troubling. It proposes to put misleading labels on foods produced with biotech ingredients and processes. Measure 27 would mislead consumers into thinking the labeled foods are less safe, when that is plainly not true.
Scaring people about food is irresponsible.
We should promote truthful and accurate labeling, not confusing and misleading labeling. Our entire food supply has been altered by such techniques as selective breeding over the past century. It is dangerous and irresponsible to scare people into believing that FDA-reviewed foods produced through biotechnology pose any health threats or are any less safe than our traditional modified food supply.
Measure 27 is a misguided attack on a technology vital to the continued expansion of our food supply to meet the demands of a growing world.
I urge Oregon voters to Vote NO on Measure 27.
(This information furnished by Peter Barton Hutt.)
As an economist and former professor of agricultural economics, I believe Measure 27 is a poorly written and costly labeling scheme laden with higher costs and no benefits. Retaining a strong competitive position in global agricultural markets is essential to the economic well being of our state, our schools and other tax-supported infrastructures. Oregon will not prosper is we pass senseless measures that reduce our ability to compete.
If passed by Oregon voters, Measure 27 would impose unwieldy labeling regulations and bureaucratic red tape that would force Oregonians to pay four ways:
1. Family farmers and food processors would face compliance costs under Measure 27 that would add more than 25% to their production costs. These costs would be incurred for the array of recordkeeping and system changes needed to track and isolate food and food additives that would require special labeling under Measure 27. In addition, Oregon food producers would be forced to pay the costs of other process changes -- from handling systems to barcodes and liability insurance -- required to meet this sweeping regulation.
2. Grocery stores, restaurants and food service facilities would face higher costs for recordkeeping and tracking of an estimated 500,000 food products, beverages and menu items they sell or serve.
3. Taxpayers would pay $120 million over 10 years to enforce Measure 27's complicated new labeling requirements. Department of Agriculture's estimates included 60 additional staff members and equipment needed to conduct over 100,000 inspections, audits and lab tests each year, requiring a doubling of the Department's current General Fund Budget.
4. Consumers would pay higher food costs. In fact, a recent study estimated that Measure 27's labeling scheme would cost an average family of four an additional $550 a year.
It's clear that Measure 27 is a costly labeling law that deserves to be defeated.
Clinton Reeder, PhD
Former Professor of Agricultural Economics
Oregon State University
(This information furnished by Clinton B. Reeder, Ph.D., Farmer, Consulting Economist and Public Policy Analyst.)
My wife, Nancy, and I, together with my brother and his family, farm 900 acres near Mt. Angel. Most of the vegetable and seed crops we grow are shipped throughout the United States and around the world. Much of it is processed through a cooperative owned by farmers like us.
Measure 27 would be devastating for farmers and the food industry in Oregon. The misleading labels Measure 27 would require on many Oregon food products would worry consumers about their foods when they are known to be safe. Consumers in other states and countries, given the choice between an Oregon-made product with the warning label and an identical product made elsewhere without a label, will most often buy the unlabeled product.
Warning labels would put Oregon food products at a competitive disadvantage.
Forcing food producers to put what will appear to be warning labels on foods from Oregon would put us at competitive disadvantage and cost us millions of dollars in lost sales. Oregon farmers and food processors are struggling already. Complying with Measure 27 would require segregated handling of biotech foods and ingredients from their non-biotech counterparts. Either separate equipment would be used or downtime would be required for thorough cleaning. Tracking would need to trace foods from the seed producer through the final products.
All these costs would make Measure 27 expensive for Oregon farmers and food processors and ultimately for consumers. We urge you to VOTE NO on MEASURE 27.
(This information furnished by Mark Dickman, Dickman Farms.)
Our family has operated a grocery store in Boardman for 19 years. I've seen some extreme measures on our state ballot and soon we'll all be voting on another one -- Measure 27.
I've read all about Measure 27 and its labeling scheme. And, I have to tell you, it's simply ridiculous.
Measure 27 would dump a whole new set of food labeling regulations and red tape on grocers like me and on Oregon family farmers and restaurants. And, it would create a whole new state bureaucracy to enforce the most confusing and complicated regulations I've ever seen.
Measure 27 would force me and my customers to pay more. My businesses costs would go up, consumer food costs would go up and taxpayer costs would go up.
I sure don't want to charge my customers more for basic food items, like bread and milk, because I have to do a lot of paperwork and stick on a bunch of scary and misleading labels that say about 70% of the food on my shelves isn't 100% organic. If my customers want to buy organic foods, they just have to look at all the products I stock that are labeled organic.
State law would impose fines and jail terms if I mislabel a can or jar of food. In fact, the penalties would be higher than for some real crimes, like illegal drug use.
Look into Measure 27 yourself. When you do, I think you'll agree with me -- the more you know about Measure 27, the less you'll like it.
Owner, Kegler Sentry Market
(This information furnished by Dean Kegler, Kegler's Sentry.)
Measure 27 is another example of narrow special interests trying to use Oregon's ballot measure process to push their radical political agenda.
The organic food companies and activists behind Measure 27 want to ban the use of biotechnology to improve agriculture and food crops, and they have proposed a scheme to put special warning labels on thousands of products that are not 100 percent "organic."
Measure 27 would require a huge and expensive regulatory program.
Measure 27's labeling regulations would be so sweeping that the Oregon Department of Agriculture estimates it would have to monitor, test, and track more than a half-million food products and menu items in order to enforce the law. Paying for that enforcement would more than double the department's current general fund budget and cost taxpayers more than $118 million over the next 10 years.
Anyplace food is sold or served, labels would be required.
Measure 27's scary warning labels would be required not only on food and beverages sold in Oregon stores, but on food served in restaurants, school cafeterias, church bake sales, prison mess halls, vending machines anyplace food is sold or served.
Labels also would be required on farm products and food grown or made here in Oregon and shipped throughout the world. Oregon's economy relies heavily on the state's natural resource industries, including agriculture and food production. Measure 27 would have a direct negative effect on Oregon farmers, our food production and distribution industry, our restaurants and food service operations, and on other businesses in the state that rely on these industries.
Associated Oregon Industries, Oregon's largest business organization opposes the Co$tly Labeling Law:
Measure 27 Would Unfairly Hurt Oregon Farmers and Businesses.
PLEASE VOTE NO ON 27.
Associated Oregon Industries (AOI)
(This information furnished by Richard Butrick, Associated Oregon Industries.)
Some extremists are at it again - pushing their special-interest agenda at the expense of Oregon family farmers and ranchers. They are promoting Measure 27, a misleading and unnecessary labeling law that threatens the future of Oregon's agricultural exports.
About 80% of Oregon's agricultural production is shipped out of state, with half sold overseas. Agriculture is the third largest sector of Oregon exports and supports over 20,000 jobs in our state. In fact, every dollar of agricultural exports generates an additional $1.32 in economic activity.
Measure 27's labeling scheme puts Oregon food producers at a competitive disadvantage.
Oregon farmers and ranchers sell their products in highly competitive multi-state, national and international markets. Our ability to remain competitive would be severely damaged if Measure 27 passes.
Under Measure 27, we would have to put special warning labels on thousands of products that aren't 100% "organic." These ominous labels would be required on any product made with any biotech ingredient or process -- despite the fact that they pose no health risk and even if the final product doesn't contain any biotech ingredients.
To make matters worse, Oregon would be the only state in the country and the only place in the world that requires these labels. There's no doubt that labels that look and sound alarming would scare off buyers here and abroad. And, that's just what the promoters, the large organic food corporations, of Measure 27 want.
Measure 27's could cost us tens of millions of dollars in lost sales and higher overhead.
The proposed labeling scheme would force farmers and ranchers to pay for detailed record keeping and complicated product labeling. Thus, our overhead costs would increase as our sales decrease.
Please join me and the 22,000 family farmers and ranchers of the Farm Bureau in voting NO on 27, the Co$tly Labeling Law.
Yamhill County Farm Bureau
(This information furnished by David Cruickshank, Yamhill County Farm Bureau.)
Oregon's food industry is deeply concerned about Measure 27's costly and complicated regulations requiring misleading labels on most foods that aren't 100% "organic."
Compliance costs would fall heavily on Oregon's struggling food processors. Companies would have to implement costly recordkeeping and segregation systems to isolate food and food additives when labeling is required. Processors would face huge potential costs for separate processing lines, dual storage warehouses, special facility and equipment cleaning, testing of inputs, documentation from suppliers extending all the way back to farmers and seed producers, label changes, new barcodes and, of course, liability insurance.
Compliance costs are likely to add 15-20% to Oregon Products
Under Measure 27, Oregon's food industry would face competitive disadvantages. Food makers in other states would be required to apply misleading labels only for food they sell in Oregon. Oregon companies must label food, regardless of where it is sold. Consumers elsewhere would avoid products from Oregon that carry scary sounding labels on shelves next to identical products from other states that don't have those labels.
Oregon's farmers, food processors and suppliers form the heart of an industry with deep roots here. We take great pride in the quality of our products. Warning labels that make Oregon-made products falsely appear to be less than safe or healthy are clearly misleading.
Measure 27 would be expensive for Oregon's food industry to implement and for consumers. It would also be expensive for Oregon taxpayers, wasting more than $118 million over the next 10 years to pay for a new bureaucracy attempting to implement an unneeded and unfair law.
The Oregon Food Processors FOODPAC urges you to VOTE NO on MEASURE 27.
(This information furnished by Ken Yates, Oregon Food Processors FOODPAC.)
Measure 27 would force Oregon restaurant owners to provide special warning labels with thousands of menu items served each that aren't 100% "organic." Organic food companies are promoting the labeling scheme, to try to give themselves a competitive advantage over conventional food producers.
State officials estimate regulating
restaurant food labels will cost
nearly $9 million a year.
State officials estimate the Oregon Department of Agriculture will have to monitor more than 400,000 menu items served in Oregon restaurants, actually auditing 100,000 of those items, then sampling and testing 20,000 of them. State restaurant monitoring and inspections will cost the state nearly $9 million per year with nearly $3 million in start-up costs.
Measure 27 would also cost restaurant owners millions more. Restaurants would face a complicated new burden special record keeping and research to track and determine the origin of virtually every product or ingredient used in any dish we serve. Staff time and costs would be passed on to Oregon consumers through higher prices. On top of that, we'd face huge fines and even jail terms if we accidentally use the wrong labels.
Many basic foods would require costly labels.
Basic food items like bread, dairy products, meats and many beverages, would require Measure 27 labels reading "Genetically Engineered," even if they don't contain any genetically engineered ingredients. The labels would be useless. They are just intended to scare consumers away from "non-organic foods" -- even though they are just as safe as "organic" products.
On behalf of all the members of the Oregon Restaurant Association, I urge you to say NO to the Co$tly Labeling Law.
Please Vote NO on Measure 27.
Bill McCormick, President
McCormick & Schmick's Restaurants
(This information furnished by Bill McCormick, Oregon Restaurant Association.)
One Teacher's Concerns about Measure 27.
As a teacher, I'm painfully aware of how Oregon's economic slump has forced budget cuts in schools across the state, including where I teach.
At a time when Oregon is struggling to find funds for schools, Measure 27 proposes to create a new state bureaucracy costing taxpayers more than $118 million over the next 10 years to put meaningless labels on foods that aren't 100% "organic."
Schools Would Have to Put Labels on Food and Beverages Served in School Cafeterias, Vending Machines and Concession Stands
To add insult to that injury, Measure 27 is so poorly written that it would require schools like mine to label foods and beverages served in the school cafeteria, in vending machines on school property and at concessions stands during athletic events.
Measure 27 is another example of initiative activists forcing Oregon voters to decide on an innocent-sounding proposal with huge, hidden impacts on government programs, taxpayers and consumers.
When Oregon's economy is sour, proposals like this are even more damaging. School costs make up nearly half of state budget expenditures. So nearly half of Measure 27's costs are likely to come from funds that otherwise would be available to pay for teachers, textbooks and testing all of which have been cut in the current budget crisis.
Measure 27 Is a Right-to-Learn Issue
Backers of Measure 27 claim it's a right-to-know issue, but in fact the information on the labels it requires would be misleading and useless to consumers. I think of Measure 27 as a right-to-learn issue. I believe my students have a right to an adequately funded education. Their right to learn should be the state's top funding priority not some new bureaucratic program designed to further one group's political agenda.
High School Social Studies Teacher
(This information furnished by Kraig J. Hoene.)
Oregon's Budding Biotechnology Industry Will Be Harmed If Measure 27 Passes.
The Lifescience Industry Organization represents Oregon biotech companies and we oppose Measure 27. It is a direct attack on the science that forms the basis of the industry that we are trying to grow to help diversify our state's economy. Measure 27's attack on biotechnology could hurt all of Oregon's emerging biotech industry, chasing away research dollars and investment capital.
Top US scientists have determined foods made from biotechnology are safe.
The FDA stated in 1992 that GMO food is safe to eat, and that consumers can be confident that products made using biotechnology meet the government's most stringent safety standards. It would therefore be misleading and confusing to place warning labels on foods that are known to be safe.
Measure 27 will add a further financial burden to Oregon's citizens.
At a time when our state budget is in crisis, Measure 27 would require the Oregon Department of Agriculture's general fund budget to double in order to enforce its provisions. Moreover, Oregon farmers, food processors and transporters would be saddled with additional expenses reducing already meager profits on agricultural products. These extra costs will undoubtedly be passed on to consumers in the form of higher food prices.
Measure 27 is Ten Times Stricter Than Any Other Country.
Measure 27 would be the most stringent consumer labeling law in the world. In order to sell their non-GMO products in Oregon, food producers from outside Oregon would have to meet standards that go well beyond any other regulations, making it unlikely that they would sell their products here. Similarly, Oregon farmers and food producers exporting outside our state would be burdened with additional costs making their products more expensive and less competitive.
We urge you, please, to vote NO on Measure 27.
C. Jeff Lipps, President
Lifescience Industry Organization
(This information furnished by C. Jeff Lipps, President, Lifescience Industry Organization (LIO) of Oregon.)
The Oregon State Grange is the largest grassroots, rural-based fraternal organization in Oregon and has been active in protecting Oregon for 129 years.
Grange members have always advocated for farmers and families. Measure 27 would be bad for our families, our farmers and our state.
Measure 27 Would Be Costly
Those who grow, distribute, process, prepare and serve food would face higher costs and competitive disadvantages. Making Oregon farmers put unnecessary and confusing warning labels on their products could scare away buyers, costing them millions even though the foods they are selling are completely safe.
Measure 27 would also cost millions to taxpayers. The Oregon Department of Agriculture would be required to oversee the program and would have to virtually double its current general fund budget.
Measure 27 Would Be Irresponsible and Extreme
Genetically engineered food products occur in nature and have not been shown by scientific research to cause ill effects. Most common food and clothing items are the result of natural or planned genetic modification. Genetically engineered crops are safe, good for our environment and good for our economy. Measure 27 seeks to block the technology that promises to bring benefits to families, farmers and the world.
Genetically engineered foods are as safe as other foods and are grown with fewer pesticide applications than traditional crops. A label would appear to be a warning making consumers believe the food is unsafe, which is incorrect and irresponsible. Foods derived through biotechnology are the most thoroughly tested and heavily regulated crops in human history.
Measure 27 is too extreme because even farm produce stands, church bake sales, food carts and schools would be required to add labels to the foods and beverages they serve.
Measure 27 Would Hurt Oregon
Read Measure 27 and you will agree with the 19,000 plus members of the Oregon State Grange and vote "NO" on Measure 27.
(This information furnished by John Fine, Oregon State Grange.)
Measure 27, the proposed labeling law, is another example of the widespread damage that a special interest agenda can wreak on our state, its people and our economic future.
Measure 27 would cost taxpayers millions.
This labeling scheme would cost taxpayers over $17 million in the first year alone, diverting already limited funds from needed programs and services. Creating a new government bureaucracy to enforce unnecessary regulations when our state is coping with a staggering budget deficit is staggeringly ludicrous.
Measure 27 would unfairly burden family farmers, grocers and restaurants
with red tape and higher costs.
The poorly written initiative would force all businesses that produce, sell or serve food or beverages to put warning labels on an estimated 500,000 products that aren't 100% "organic." This would increase business costs, while farmers and processors who export over 80% of their products at a daunting competitive disadvantage. Such punitive, costly regulations could only worsen Oregon's mounting job losses and drag our economy further down into recession.
Measure 27 would increase consumer food costs.
The increased costs imposed on food production and distribution would be passed on to Oregon consumers. A recent study estimated that Measure 27 would ultimately cost an average Oregon family of four several hundred dollars a year.
Oregon needs to direct its political will and dwindling tax dollars to combating our state budget deficit, mounting unemployment and further erosion of discretionary income of Oregon families.
Measure 27's costly and extreme regulations would only exacerbate Oregon's current problems. That's a proposition that deserves to be defeated.
Join me -- and the 10,000 members of Citizens for a Sound Economy -- in voting NO on 27.
R. Russell Walker
Oregon Citizens for a Sound Economy
(This information furnished by R. Russell Walker, Oregon Citizens for a Sound Economy.)
Once again, an anti-technology, special interest group is using Oregon's initiative process to impose its own extreme agenda on us all. This time, they've targeted Oregon's food supply, with hopes of getting the other 49 states to follow.
Ironically, the same people who oppose the use of agricultural chemicals are attacking the technology that will allow our farmers to grow higher quality, more abundant food on less land, conserving topsoil and reducing pesticide use.
Measure 27 is a complicated, costly labeling scheme that would:
This is not a "Right to Know" issue. It benefits a select few organic companies at the expense of us all. As the old saying goes, "The devil is in the details." Read for yourself what the statute will do, not what the proponents tell you it will. The more you know about Measure 27, the less you'll like it.
Vote NO on 27.
Oregonians for Food and Shelter
Director of Grass Roots
Oregonians for Food and Shelter
(This information furnished by Terry Witt, Paulette Pyle, Oregonians for Food and Shelter.)
Family farming is a proud tradition here in Oregon. Family farmers work long and hard -- facing all kinds of challenges -- to supply healthy and safe food for our families and our communities.
But now, we are facing a threat to our future that will do nothing but make our jobs tougher and consumer food prices higher. That threat is Measure 27, the Co$tly Labeling Law.
Measure 27 makes no sense. This proposed law would require warning labels on food that is researched, tested and regulated to ensure safety. These scary labels would have to be stuck all over any food that contains a biotech ingredient or was processed using biotechnology. The Department of Agriculture has estimated that these labels would apply to over 500,000 food and beverage products.
Measure 27 would bury us in red tape. Family farmers would have to keep elaborate records to determine which foods require which labels. Then, whether we sell our food at farm stands or to grocery stores, we would have to label each product. Because the labeling requirements under Measure 27 are so badly written, virtually all our products could be subject to these regulations.
Measure 27 threatens us with harsh penalties. If we make a mistake and use the wrong label or the wrong labeling language, we face fines of up to $5,000 and up to six months in jail.
Please don't allow a few organic food companies to expand their business on the backs of Oregon's family farmers. Vote NO on 27.
Oregon Family Farm Association
(This information furnished by Larry George, President, Oregon Family Farm Association.)
Arguments in Favor
Table of Contents