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Oregon GMO measure may be headed for recount

PORTLAND — An Oregon ballot measure that would require labels for genetically engineered foods may be heading for an automatic recount.

The measure was rejected, but results released Thursday by Multnomah County pushed the margin of defeat to a mere 0.1 percent. That's inside the 0.2 percent threshold that triggers an automatic recount.

Out of 1.5 million ballots counted, fewer than 1,500 votes separate the two sides in Measure 92.

Counties have until 5 p.m. Monday to publish their final results. Several thousand ballots remain unreported.

If an automatic recount is triggered, the secretary of state's office says it would likely begin the first week in December.

If the final margin is greater than the threshold for an automatic recount, any voter can request one but must pay for it.

Oregon is the fourth state in the West that has failed to pass a GMO labeling measure. A similar proposal failed this election in Colorado, which joined Washington state and California as other states that have said no.

The Oregon initiative would have required manufacturers, retailers and suppliers to label raw or packaged foods produced entirely or partially by genetic engineering.

There's little science that says genetically engineered foods are unsafe, and agribusinesses fear mandatory labels would spook consumers. Most of the nation's corn and soybeans are genetically engineered to resist pests and herbicides, but labeling proponents say there's too much that's unknown about GMOs.