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GMO Ban Passes in Maui, Labeling Requirement Fails in Colorado, Oregon

Pro GMO labelVoters across the US were of two minds about GMOs Tuesday, as a ban on GMOs passed in Maui, while voters in Colorado and Oregon voted against initiatives to label products containing GMOs, according to media reports.

Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences were among the companies actively opposing the GMO ban in Maui, according to the Honolulu Civil Beat. Monsanto also was opposed to the labeling requirement in Colorado and Oregon, together with Kraft and Coca-Cola, as reported by the LA Times.

About 50.2 percent of voters in Maui – the minimum needed to pass the GMO ban – voted in favor, while 47.9 percent voted against. Corporations that opposed the ballot measure are expected to file a lawsuit to block the ban. The Maui County initiative will temporarily ban GMO farming until the county conducts a public health and environmental study of its impact, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Tom Blackburn-Rodriguez, spokesperson for the pro-GMO group Citizens Against the Maui County Farming Ban, said in an emailed statement to the Star-Advertiser that the group was disappointed by the results, and called the proposal scientifically unjustified, deeply flawed and irresponsible.

With 84 percent of the vote in Wednesday morning, Colorado’s Proposition 105 — which would require foods containing GMOs to be labeled as such — was losing 68 percent to 32 percent. In Oregon, the divide over Measure 92, which also would have required foods containing GMOs to be labeled, was far narrower – 51 percent against and 49 percent for – with 68 percent of the votes counted, according to the LA Times.

In an email to the LA Times, Thomas M. Helscher of Monsanto said the company opposes state-by-state mandatory labeling laws like Measure 92 in Oregon and Proposition 105 in Colorado, adding that they don’t provide any safety or nutrition information and the measures will hurt, not help, consumers, taxpayers and businesses.

GMO labeling ballot measures in California and Washington were defeated in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

Photo Credit: GMOs via Shutterstock

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said voters in Colorado and Oregon approved a ban on labeling GMOs and incorrectly said Monsanto, Kraft and Coca-Cola supported the labeling in Colorado and Oregon, due to a reporting error.

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