July 19, 2018

Jackson County, Oregon Set to Ban GE Crops

According to the Center for Food Safety, a twenty-person Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR) has conducted a review of the Jackson County ballot initiative to ban genetically engineered (GE) crops from the county. The findings of that review concluded that “farms in Jackson County are at ‘serious risk’ of contamination by GE crops.”

GMO TomatoThis contamination can cost farmers a lot of money. Last year, shipments of alfalfa exported from Washington state to Japan were rejected because they were contaminated by GE crops. Japan, along with many other countries around the world, bans GE foods or requires labeling.

Measure 15-119 will be on the ballot on May 20, 2014. The non-partisan Review looked at the measure and heard testimony from experts. Center for Food Safety attorney George Kimbrell was one of those testifying.

Mr. Kimbrell said, “after three days of careful study, the Citizens’ Initiative Review cut through the agrichemical companies’ well-funded and misleading advertisements and found the truth. The truth is that family farms in Jackson County are at significant risk of contamination by GE crops. Voters understand the attack ads, paid for by out of state chemical companies, are simply scare tactics.”

Opponents claim that the measure would would be a cost that would be difficult for the county to manage. But the CIR concluded that the Measure would “not incur the country significant enforcement costs.” The review looked at three other states that passed similar laws and found they incurred no new enforcement expenses. Other studies have had the same result.

According to Ballotpedia, corporations that have donated in opposition to Measure 15-119 include Monsanto ($183,000), DuPont Pioneer ($129,000), Syngenta ($75,000), Bayer CropScience LP ($22,000), BASF Plant Science ($22,000), and Dow AgroScience ($22,00). In contrast, most of the donors in support of the Measure were private citizens. The largest donors supporting Measure 15-119 were GMO-free Jackson County Group ($11,000), and Organic Consumers Fund ($16,000), along with a private citizen ($25,000).

The panel concluded that contamination by GE or GMO crops has negative consequences for farmers. And they said that the vast majority of those crops are engineered to resist pesticides, which leads to a greatly increased use of herbicides and the growth of superweeds.

 

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