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GMO labeling measure makes Colorado’s November ballot


A combine harvests wheat along the Oregon-Washington border. A GMO labeling ballot measure failed in Washington last fall and is up for a vote in Oregon and Colorado this November.  (Jeff Horner/AP)

A proposal to require the labeling of genetically modified food qualified for Colorado’s November ballot, the secretary of state’s office announced Wednesday.

Backers of the measure, Proposition 105, submitted nearly 40,000 more valid signatures than the required 86,105.

The placement of the measure on the ballot could bring a huge wave of corporate spending, as was seen last fall in Washington state last year. Despite early signs that it would pass, the measure was ultimately defeated in Washington as an infusion of corporate spending flooded the state making the initiative campaign the most expensive in state history. Groups opposed were funded in large part by food giants, such as Pepsico, Nestle, Coca-Cola, General Mills, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Monsanto and Dupont. Two groups opposed to the measure spent $33 million, while $10 million was spent by groups in support of it.

Colorado won’t be alone this year. A similar measure has already qualified for the ballot in Oregon. And Vermont earlier this year became the first state in the nation to enact labeling requirements. When legislators crafted the law, they were so sure of corporate pushback that they simultaneously created a $1.5 million legal defense fund. A month after the law was enacted in May, the state was sued by the associations representing grocery manufacturers, the snack food industry, dairy industry and manufacturing industry.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified one of the parties suing Vermont. It is the dairy industry.

Niraj Chokshi is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.

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