Millions of dollars are being spent to influence Oregon residents who will vote in November on a ballot measure that would require labels on genetically modified food.

Biotech companies and other opponents of GMO labeling have spent $7.2 million so far, according to a report by the Associated Press. Monsanto spent $1.6 million, followed by PepsiCo Inc. and Kraft Foods.

Meanwhile, supporters of GMO labeling spent $4.2 million. The major spenders included the national nonprofit Center for Food Safety and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. More than 3,000 Oregon residents also donated to the cause, AP reported.

PRITCHETT FULL GMO debate

Civil Beat cartoonist John Pritchett illustrates the GMO debate in Hawaii.

John Pritchett/Civil Beat

The money pouring into Oregon’s election reflects what’s happening on a smaller scale in Hawaii, where Maui County voters are planning to vote on a ballot initiative that would temporarily ban the cultivation of genetically modified crops.

A political action committee backed by seed companies has spent at least $820,000 on TV ads alone, while the Center for Food Safety recently formed a political action committee to support the ballot measure.

Hawaii residents will get a better idea of how much has been spent to influence the election after candidates and political action committees disclose their expenses and contributions on Oct 29.

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