Oregon GMO food labeling initiative draws big money

Both sides receiving donations

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Political observers are predicting that an initiative requiring the labeling of genetically engineered food products could end up as one of the costliest in state history.

So far, they are on target.

New financial filings show that groups on both sides of the GMO initiative are taking in significant amounts of cash in the run up to the November general election.

The No on 92 Committee, working to defeat the initiative, took in more than $312,000 in donations from mid-June through July 30, according to filings with the Oregon Secretary of State's office.

The bulk of that money came from the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences and DuPont Pioneer. The latter three are involved or affiliated with the production of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

Pat McCormick, a group spokesman, said more recent contributions will be listed on subsequent filings.

"We are on a 30-day reporting cycle now," he said. "We will be reporting everything as soon as the law requires us to."

Oregon Right to Know, the group promoting the measure, reported taking in $1.6 million this month. More than 2,400 individual donors contributed, spokesman Kevin Glenn said.

Similar measures sparked fierce and expensive campaigns in California in 2012 and last year in Washington.

Both measures were narrowly defeated after massive advertising campaigns pitched the ideas that the proposed laws would lead to inconsistent labeling and higher grocery prices.

The Washington campaign ended up being the most expensive in state history.

Proponents of the Oregon measure say consumers deserve to know what's in the food they buy and eat.