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Out-of-state groups boost GMO labeling plan

Ballot qualifying effort tops $1 million.


Out-of-state groups raised most of the money for the Oregon effort to qualify a ballot initiative requiring labels on genetically engineered food.

According to a report filed with the secretary of state, Oregon GMO Right to Know raised $1,165,663 and spent just over $1 million in collecting signatures for the measure.

Advocates submitted Wednesday what they said were more than 150,000 signatures, but the secretary of state's log listed 107,835. State elections officials will have until Aug. 2 to verify 87,213 signatures, done through random sampling.

Of the total raised, almost 75 percent came from out-of-state sources.

— Mercola.com Health Resources LLC, Hoffman Estates, Ill., $350,000. Dr. Joseph Mercola is an osteopathic physician.

— Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, Vista, Calif., $250,000. David Bronner is the owner.

— Organic Consumers Fund, political arm of the Organic Consumers Association, Finland, Minn., $100,000.

— Clif Bar and Co., Emeryville, Calif., $100,000.

— Center for Food Safety Action Fund, Washington, D.C., $25,000.

— Applegate, a producer of natural and organic meats, Bridgewater, N.J. $15,000.

— Wehah Farm Inc. (Lundberg Family Farms), Richvale, Calif., $15,000.

Large in-state contributions came from the Committee for Oregon's Right to Know, $92,697; Karen Swift of Portland, cofounder of Biosafety Alliance, $75,000, and So Delicious Dairy Free, Eugene, $25,000.

Under the law, only political committees sponsoring measures must file financial reports detailing their contributions and expenses, regardless of whether they proceed. Potential opponents are not required to file.

Oregon voters rejected a 2002 measure to require labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food. Voters also did so in California in 2012, and Washington in 2013, but only after campaign spending of $46 million and $22 million.

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