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Pro-GM Labelling Campaign Hugely Outspent in Colorado and Oregon Ballot

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page, Colorado News page and our Oregon News page.

A grocery store employee wipes down a soup bar with a display informing customers of organic, ‘GMO-free’ oils, in Boulder, Colorado. With ballot measures going to a vote in November, Colorado and Oregon could become the first states to adopt mandatory GM labels through public votes. Photograph: Brennan Linsley/AP

Biotech and supermarket giants are spending more than $25m (£15.6m) to defeat ballot initiatives in two western states that would require labelling of foods containing genetically modified organisms.

In Colorado, Dupont and Monsanto food companies are outspending supporters of mandatory labelling by 22-1 ahead of the 4 November vote, according to state campaign finance records.

In Oregon, meanwhile, industry is outspending supporters of the ballot measure by about 2-1.

The heavy industry spending resembles the last-minute infusions of cash for television ads, direct mail, and campaign staff that helped defeat earlier campaigns for mandatory GM labelling in California and Washington state.

"It is like David vs Goliath," Larry Cooper, director of Colorado's Right to Know campaign said.

He said the pro-labelling campaign had raised $625,000 by Thursday afternoon. Cooper's opponents, meanwhile, amassed $14m, after Dupont this week gave an additional $3m to the campaign, and were advertising heavily on local television.

"Why they put $14m in Colorado to keep us in the dark really doesn't make sense to me," Cooper said. "The bottom line is that we really don't know what is in our food. We are shopping blindly."

Monsanto alone has spent $4.7m to defeat the measure. Other top donors to the campaign to defeat pro-labelling Proposition 105 read like a grocery shopping list. They include: Pepsico, Kraft Foods, General Mills, Hershey Company, Coca-Cola and Kellogg, and Flower Food, according to Colorado state campaign finance records.