Center for Food Safety Testifies Before Panel
A twenty-person Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR) has concluded its review of Jackson County’s ballot initiative to ban genetically engineered (GE) crops from the county. The state-sanctioned review’s “Key Findings” concluded that farms in Jackson County are at “serious” risk of contamination by GE crops. The review also concluded that the initiative, Measure 15-119, would not incur the county significant enforcement costs.
Measure 15-119 will be on the ballot on May 20, 2014.
The non-partisan Citizens’ Initiative Review was comprised of twenty Jackson County residents. The Review panel examined Measure 15-119 for three days and heard testimony from experts including Center for Food Safety’s George Kimbrell.
“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. While contamination puts the local farmers at risk, enforcement costs will be negligible for the county,” said George Kimbrell, senior attorney with Center for Food Safety. “This is a common-sense measure to protect farmers and the environment. Voters understand the attack ads, paid for by out of state chemical companies, are simply scare tactics.”
The panel concluded that contamination by genetically engineered crops is “unavoidable” and has negative consequences for local farmers. The panel also said that the vast majority of these crops are genetically engineered to resist herbicides, leading to “significant increases in herbicide use that ultimately ends up in our food, water, and children." The review also examined three other western states that passed similar laws and concluded that those states incurred no new enforcement expenses.
“Jackson County residents will vote on a GE crop free zone just two weeks after the Governor of Vermont signs legislation to require mandatory labeling of GE foods in that state. It’s clear that across the country, members of the food movement are working to protect their rights.” added Kimbrell.
According to the Secretary of State’s website, opponents of Measure 15-119 have raised over $850,000 to defeat the initiative. In one day, the “Big Six” chemical companies donated nearly half a million dollars.