Voters in Colorado and Oregon will decide next month whether to approve laws requiring food manufacturers, retailers and suppliers to label items containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Such initiatives may be gaining traction in the U.S. So far, three states — Vermont, Maine and Connecticut — have passed similar legislation.
In Oregon, the GMO measure is on track to be the most expensive in the state's history, according to The Oregonian, with supporters reportedly raising $4.5 million and opponents spending more than $7 million.
Even if the Oregon and Colorado measures do pass, they could still face considerable legal challenges. The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) is currently protesting Vermont's GMO label law, with the case set to go to court in December. The GMA and other plaintiffs say that the new legislation violates their right to free speech.
"It is a politically motivated speech regulation that does not serve a legitimate governmental interest," says the official legal brief. "It burdens the speech of manufacturers who have not yielded to personal and political sentiments against genetic engineering."
Supporters of GMO labels, on the other hand, argue that consumers have a right to know if the food they buy and consume contains genetically modified components.
Regardless of the ultimate outcome, the GMO debate is unlikely to go away anytime soon. It is possible that American manufacturers may be forced to make several changes to their labeling practices as laws are passed, challenged and/or overturned. That's why it is so beneficial to invest in industrial label printers, allowing companies to react to new packaging requirements with agility, without having to go through a third-party printing company.