Politicians weren’t the only thing on the ballot on Tuesday. In two states, Oregon and Colorado, genetically improved foods (GIFs) were as well.
Voters in Oregon and Colorado were presented with a simple choice— continue to trust in products whose safety has consistently been validated by leading scientific bodies, or force food producers to raise their prices by imposing unnecessary and costly regulations upon them. Like voters in Washington and California before them, voters in Oregon and Colorado wisely voted against mandating labels on GIFs.
Dana Bieber, a spokeswoman for a group fighting the measure in Oregon, the No on 92 Coalition, noted that she expected similar measures to fail if they are introduced in other states, saying of labeling, “the more people know about it, the less they like it.” This stands in marked contrast to GIFs themselves— when people learn more about GIFs, they learn that there is nothing to fear.
In both states, tens of millions of dollars were spent fighting over the GIF measures. In fact, campaign spending on the Oregon initiative made it the costliest in the state’s history. However, implementing the measure could potentially cost consumers far more.
Voters across Oregon must have learned from the mistake made by their neighbors in Jackson County, Oregon earlier this year. In May, Jackson County voters passed a ban on GIF crops, and while the measure has yet to be implemented, its drawbacks are already apparent. The ban gave farmers in the county just seven more months to stop growing GIFs and is projected to cost the county more than $219,000 per year.
If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, then anti-GIF crusaders are clearly insane. Despite the fact that GIFs have repeatedly been proven to be just as safe as non-GIFs, radical food activists continue to distort reality and push for bans on GIFs. The next time anti-GIF proposals are on the ballot, voters across the country would be well served to follow the lead of voters in Colorado and Oregon.