The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill today that could repeal efforts to label food containing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

A couple of states have passed laws requiring labels on food containing GMOs. In Oregon, Jackson and Josephine counties have GMO crop bans in place. A group in Lane County is collecting signatures for a ballot measure against GMOs. But these local efforts could be undone by a bill making its way through Congress. The legislation would prevent states from passing laws mandating labels on foods containing GMOs.

Lindsay Eyink

UPDATED Thursday 11:47am

Voters in Jackson and Josephine Counties last year approved county-wide bans on the cultivation of genetically-modified crops. Backers of those measures fear a bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives today would roll back those bans – as well as scores of other GMO-related measures across the country.

The battle to prohibit the cultivation of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, continues in Oregon. In the upcoming special election, Benton County voters will decide if a measure to ban GMO's is right for them. KLCC’s Tiffany Eckert spoke with people on both sides of the issue and filed this report.

On the face of it, Measure 2-89 seeks to protect local food sources by banning the cultivation of genetically modified crops anywhere in the county. The measure also promotes saving heritage seeds and a sort of “We the People” right to self-governance.

Lindsay Eyink

It may be Christmas before Oregonians know the outcome of a controversial ballot measure to label genetically-modified foods. The margin of defeat for Measure 92 shrank to 800 votes, triggering an automatic recount.

Sandeep Kaushik is spokesman for the Oregon Right to Know Coalition, a group that supports Measure 92. He says counties will be checking all ballots by hand.

Lindsay Eyink

A measure to require labeling of genetically modified foods was narrowly defeated by Oregon voters. Measure 92 was rejected by nearly 51 percent of voters with 49 percent approving. Opponents called the measure's failure a decisive victory. Spending on both sides was historic for Oregon. Opponents raised nearly $20 million, according to the Oregonian. Supporters raised about $8 million.

Supporters of Measure 92 said Oregon has the right to know if their food contains genetically engineered ingredients. Opponents said the labeling would increase food costs.

Meeting Date: September 12, 2014

Air Date: September 15, 2014

Speakers both for and against four of the seven ballot measures will try to persuade members and guests to vote pro or con. City Club has invited proponents and opponents to explain the measures and answer your questions about Alternative Driver Licenses, an Equal Rights Amendment, Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Modified Organisms, and the Oregon Legalized Marijuana Initiative.


A Lane County group chose Earth Day for their latest legal move. Today (Tuesday) “Support Local Food Rights” filed its third attempt at an ordinance to protect area farms and limit certain agricultural practices. 

Last month, a judge ruled that the previous version of the Lane County Local Food System Ordinance did not comply with pre-election requirements. Attorney Ann Kneeland says the county now has five days to decide if this newest incarnation is acceptable.

Kneeland: “If they determine it complies, the county will have a period of time to draft a ballot title.”

Desmond O'Boyle

Oregon Representative Peter DeFazio and about 40 students from the University of Oregon are pushing super markets to voluntarily label products containing Genetically Modified Organisms.

The Oregon Legislature and the U.S. Congress continue to debate GMO labeling. The Oregon Student Independent Research Group is taking the discussion directly to grocery stores. Recently, OSPIRG requested Market of Choice voluntarily label products. At the U of O Friday, OSPIRG Spokeswoman Hannah Picknell said so far the super market chain has been receptive.

Karen Richards

The group "Support Local Food Rights" continues to fight to get its anti-GMO initiative on the November ballot in Lane County. Today (Tuesday) a judge heard challenges to the measure's wording.

The local food group wants to restrict genetically engineered seeds from being grown in Lane County. A Junction City farmer who plants genetically modified sugar beets claims the title of the ordinance is not legal.