U.S. News

Vote tally too close, recount ordered on Oregon GMO labeling

(Reuters) - The final vote tally on an Oregon ballot measure that would require labeling of foods made with genetically modified ingredients was so close that state officials are doing a recount, a spokesman for the state said on Tuesday.

Final results show the Oregon measure losing by 812 votes out of a total of more than 1.5 million votes, according to the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office.

“State law says that if the margin is no more than one-fifth of 1 percent of the total votes cast in that election...then there shall be an automatic hand recount,” said Tony Green, spokesman for the secretary of state’s office.

The recount is to take place Dec. 2-12, he said.

Oregon is one of many states where mandatory labeling of foods made with genetically modified ingredients has been pursued.

Vermont lawmakers passed a GMO labeling law earlier this year. Labeling proponents are also seeking a federal mandate for labeling GMO foods.

Labeling opponents, including major food and agriculture corporations, have sought to thwart any mandatory moves. They have filed a lawsuit to try to block implementation of the Vermont law, for instance.

Labeling proponents say GMOs carry risks for humans and the environment, and consumers should know if the foods they buy contain them. Opponents say GMOs have been proven safe and that mandatory labeling would be costly and confusing for consumers.

Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City, Mo.; Editing by Peter Galloway