Colorado Mandatory Labeling of GMOs Initiative, Proposition 105 (2014)

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Proposition 105
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Type:Initiated state statute
Referred by:Citizens
Topic:Business regulation
Status:Defeated Defeatedd
2014 measures
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November 4
Amendment 67 Defeatedd
Amendment 68 Defeatedd
Proposition 104 Approveda
Proposition 105 Defeatedd
Full text
Local measures
The Colorado Mandatory Labeling of GMOs Initiative, Proposition 105 was on the 2014 statewide ballot in the state of Colorado as an initiated state statute, where it was defeated. The measure would have required any "prepackaged, processed food or raw agricultural commodity that has been produced using genetic modification" to include the label: "Produced with genetic engineering." The law would have been put into effect by January 1, 2016. The measure was sponsored by the group Colorado Right to Know.[1]

Election results

Below are the official, certified election results:

Colorado Proposition 105
Defeatedd No1,317,28865.47%
Yes 694,738 34.53%

Election results via: Colorado Secretary of State

Text of measure

Ballot title

The official ballot question appeared as follows:[2]

Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes concerning labeling of genetically modified food; and, in connection therewith, requiring food that has been genetically modified or treated with genetically modified material to be labeled, "Produced With Genetic Engineering" starting on July 1, 2016; exempting some foods including but not limited to food from animals that are not genetically modified but have been fed or injected with genetically modified food or drugs, certain food that is not packaged for retail sale and is intended for immediate human consumption, alcoholic beverages, food for animals, and medically prescribed food; requiring the Colorado department of public health and environment to regulate the labeling of genetically modified food; and specifying that no private right of action is created for failure to conform to the labeling requirements?


Full initiative text

The full initiative text can be read here.[4]


Efforts for required labeling and bans of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been a growing issue in American politics at the state and local level. More than a million people signed a petition to the Food and Drug Administration asking it to label GMOs, which was the most signatures of any petition in the agency’s history. Similar labeling measures failed in California in 2012 and Washington in 2013. As of May 14, 2014, there were 84 bills in 29 states regarding the labeling of GMOs. In 2014, Vermont became the first state in the country to require labeling of GMOs. Maine and Connecticut also passed labeling measures, but those will not take effect until several neighboring states also adopt such measures.[5][6]


The measure was sponsored by the group Colorado Right to Know.[1]

Right2Know CO Logo OPT.png



  • Dr. Charley Cropley, N.D.[7]
  • Dr. Jill Carnahan, MD of Flatiron Functional Medicine
  • Dr. Laura Lasater, MD

Food and agricultural organizations

  • Alfalfa's Market[7]
  • Annie's Homegrown
  • Berry Patch Farms
  • Boulder Brands
  • Boulder Family Farms
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill[8]
  • Daiya Foods
  • Door-To-Door Organics
  • Durango Natural Foods Co-op
  • FoodShed Productions
  • Four Sisters Farm
  • Frontier Co-op
  • Hain Celestial Group
  • Indian Ridge Farm
  • Julia’s Kitchen
  • Justin's Nut Butter
  • KeHE
  • Lucky's Market
  • Natural Grocers
  • Nature's Path
  • Nutiva
  • Presence Marketing
  • Quinn Popcorn
  • Ranch Foods Direct
  • Rocky Mountain Farmers Union
  • Silver Hills Bakery
  • Snack Out Loud
  • Stonyfield Farm
  • The Crunchy Grocer
  • UNFI
  • Whole Foods Market

Other organizations

  • Alliance for Sustainable Colorado[7]
  • American Sustainable Business Council
  • Biodynamic Association
  • Boulder Daily Camera
  • BizWest
  • Colorado Council of Churches
  • Colorado Interfaith Power & Light
  • Committee to Elect Randy Luallin, Boulder County Commissioner
  • Conservation Colorado
  • Democratic Party of Denver
  • Dr. Bronner's
  • Eco-Justice Ministries
  • Family Nutrition Services
  • Food & Water Watch
  • Food Democracy Now
  • Global Sustainable Tourism Council
  • Green Cities Coalition of the Pikes Peak Region
  • Hazon
  • Mile High Business Alliance
  • Naturally Boulder
  • New Belgium Brewery
  • Nutrition Inc. - Corporate Wellness Programs
  • Organic Consumers Association
  • Sierra Club - Rocky Mtn Chapter


  • According to arguments made by the Colorado Right to Know group:[7]
Under Proposition 105, labeling genetically engineered foods would provide basic information to let Coloradans make more informed buying decisions, offering more choice and control over the transparency of their food purchasing decisions.

Without proper labeling and transparency it is difficult for doctors and pediatricians to determine where food allergies and sensitivities arise.

Because families and individuals are dealing with an increasing level of food allergies and sensitivities, we demand more information about the genetic makeup and source of our food. [3]

  • The Colorado State Ballot Information Booklet listed the following in favor of the measure:[9]
1) The labeling of genetically engineered foods will increase the availability of information about Colorado's food supply. Current labeling requirements for packaged foods identify ingredients, nutritional values, and either the presence of allergens in the food, or the existence of allergens in the manufacturing facility. The measure's labeling requirements give Colorado consumers additional information to consider when making their food purchasing decisions. The issue is not whether foods produced with genetic engineering are good or bad, rather that many consumers want to have the option to choose based on their personal needs and values. In the absence of federal action, Proposition 105 can help Colorado citizens make informed food choices by requiring labeling of foods produced with genetic engineering.

2) Over 60 countries, including all members of the European Union, have laws or regulations mandating the labeling of genetically engineered foods. Additionally, a small number of states have passed but not yet implemented laws requiring the labeling of genetically engineered foods. The FDA's current voluntary labeling guidelines are not widely used, do not provide enough information, and may never be made mandatory by the federal government. Third party non-GMO and USDA organic labeling account for only a small fraction of consumers' food choices in Colorado, so they are not a substitute for mandatory labeling. [3]

Campaign contributions

Total campaign cash Campaign Finance Ballotpedia.png
Category:Ballot measure endorsements Support: $729,233.13
Circle thumbs down.png Opposition: $12,677,388.90

The following campaign contribution totals for Right to Know Colorado GMO were current as of December 4, 2014.[10]

PAC info:

PAC Amount raised Amount spent
Right to Know Colorado GMO $729,233.13 $712,040.80
Total $729,233.13 $712,040.80

Top contributors:

Donor Amount
Food Democracy Action $230,000.00
Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps $57,410.83
Organic Consumer's Fund $50,000.00
Alex & Anna Bogusky $50,000.00
John Foraker $35,000.00


The measure was opposed by the group No on Prop 105.[11]

No on 105: "Proposition 105 Hurts Colorado's Economy"



  • Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce[12]
  • Colorado Corn Growers Association
  • Colorado Bioscience Association
  • Colorado Farm Bureau
  • Colorado Beverage Association
  • Colorado Cattlemen’s Association
  • US Beet Sugar Association
  • NebCo Sugarbeet Growers Association
  • Rocky Mountain Food Industry Association
  • Rocky Mountain Agribusiness Association
  • American Society of Sugar Beet Technologists
  • Western Sugar Cooperative
  • Colorado Dairy Farmers
  • Farmers Alliance for Integrated Resources
  • Progressive 15
  • Front Range Sustainable Agriculture, Inc.
  • FUEL – Colorado
  • Garfield County Farm Bureau
  • Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
  • John B. Shawcroft Ranches LLLP
  • Kit Carson County Farm Bureau
  • Kiowa County Farm Bureau
  • The Amalgamated Sugar Company
  • US Custom Harvesters
  • Mesa County Farm Bureau
  • Prowers County Farm Bureau
  • Rocky Ford Growers Association
  • Sedgwick County Farm Bureau
  • Sipe Farms LLC
  • Sundance Farms
  • Colorado Sugarbeet Growers Association
  • Representing 226 members
  • Talbott’s Mountain Gold LLLP
  • Representing 100 Colorado jobs
  • Grocery Manufacturers Association
  • Colorado Renewable Energy Investment Company
  • American Sugarbeet Growers Association
  • Bauder Farms LLC
  • Beet Sugar Development Foundation
  • Brighton Prime Rib Club
  • Clay Land and Livestock
  • Club 20
  • COG II Farms LLC
  • Colorado State Grange
  • Colorado Ag News Network
  • Colorado Agri-Women
  • Colorado Association of Distributors
  • Colorado Association of Wheat Growers
  • Colorado Competitive Council


  • According to arguments put out by the opposition group, No on Prop 105:
It would mandate complex new food labeling regulations in Colorado that don’t exist in any other state. Proposition 105 would unfairly hurt our state’s farmers, cost Colorado taxpayers millions, and increase grocery costs for Colorado families by hundreds of dollars per year.

Proposition 105’s flawed and costly labeling system -- which would only exist in Colorado-- would not even do what it claims to do: It would not give Colorado consumers reliable information about which foods actually contain GMO ingredients and which do not.[3]

No on Prop 105[11]

  • The Colorado State Ballot Information Booklet listed the following in opposition of the measure:[9]
1) Proposition 105 will result in higher food prices as farmers, food manufacturers, distributors, and retailers pass their costs to comply with the labeling requirements on to consumers. Such businesses will have increased costs for record-keeping, product verification, and separate product storage and handling processes for genetically engineered products. The labeling requirement may be particularly burdensome for small businesses and farmers' markets, since the measure does not provide for any exemptions based on an operation's size.

2) The measure conflicts with existing nationwide voluntary labeling standards that already provide consumers with accurate and reliable information on non-genetically engineered and organic foods. Because of the large number of labeling exemptions included in the measure — most notably food served in restaurants and meat and dairy products regardless of the animal's diet and medications — the proposed labeling requirements would not give consumers a reliable way of knowing which foods contain genetically engineered ingredients, and which do not. These exempted foods will appear as products that were not produced with genetic engineering, which may mislead rather than inform consumers. Requiring the labeling of foods produced with genetic engineering may also send the message to consumers that the foods are unsafe, even though no scientific evidence indicates that genetically engineered foods are any riskier than other foods. [3]

Campaign contributions

The following campaign contribution totals for No on 105 Coalition were current as of December 4, 2014.[13]

PAC info:

PAC Amount raised Amount spent
No on 105 Coalition $12,677,388.90 $7,598,555.80
Total $12,677,388.90 $7,598,555.80

Top contributors:

Donor Amount
Monsanto $4,755,278
PepsiCo $1,650,000
Kraft Foods $1,030,000
Coca-Cola $831,000
General Mills $820,000

Reports and analyses


ECONorthwest, a "consulting firm specializing in economics, finance, and planning," was contracted by Consumers Union to compile "a review of published research on the cost of labeling foods containing genetically engineered ingredients."[14][15] ECONorthwest reviewed "assessments of the cost impact of state ballot initiatives similar to Oregon’s Ballot Measure 92, and the European Union’s GE labeling regime, as well as the United States Food and Drug Administration labeling cost model, and academic studies of the global impacts of GE agricultural products." Following a review, the firm concluded:

We concluded that the median cost of labeling in the studies that provided relevant models was $2.30 per person per year. Relevant cost estimates presented in the studies we reviewed ranged from $.32 to $15.01.



ECONorthwest explained why different researchers come to different conclusions. Different economists look at different variables and sometimes have different assumptions about those variables. Some researchers assume manufacturers would pass 100 percent of increased expenses onto consumers, while others assume different percentages. Others speculate on "consumer behavioral changes" and "other matters not directly related to the cost of designing and labeling a product as containing a GE ingredients."

The full literature review can be read here.

AAAS statement on GMOs

According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), "crop improvement by the modern molecular techniques of biotechnology is safe." They said further,

As a result and contrary to popular misconceptions, GM crops are the most extensively tested crops ever added to our food supply. There are occasional claims that feeding GM foods to animals causes aberrations ranging from digestive disorders, to sterility, tumors and premature death. Although such claims are often sensationalized and receive a great deal of media attention, none have stood up to rigorous scientific scrutiny. Indeed, a recent review of a dozen well-designed long-term animal feeding studies comparing GM and non-GM potatoes, soy, rice, corn and triticale found that the GM and their non-GM counterparts are nutritionally equivalent. [3]

—AAAS [16]

Read the full statement here.

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Colorado ballot measures, 2014


  • The Daily Camera said,
YES. Coloradans have a right to information about their food, where [sic] they are interested in it for health, ethical or environmental reasons.[3]

Daily Camera[17]


  • The Denver Post said,
Proposition 105 is a badly flawed measure that will hurt Colorado farmers and food producers without providing any health benefit to consumers...The world's prestigious scientific bodies are in overwhelming agreement that GMO food poses no greater health risk than food created through traditional breeding...Vote "no" on Prop 105.[3]

Denver Post[18]

  • The Longmont Times-Call said,
Proposition 105 would mandate that foods that are genetically modified or produced with genetic engineering include these words: "Produced With Genetic Engineering."

The federal government says that in 1993 the vast majority of corn, cotton and soybean crops were genetically engineered. If approved, there would be exceptions for chewing gum and alcoholic beverages.

This excessive idea calls for fines and imprisonment for those in violation. The change in law would be in conflict with voluntary nationwide labeling standards.[3]

Longmont Times-Call[19]

  • The Aurora Sentinel said,
Rather than feed consumer fear and inflation with measures like this, the public would be better served to consult sources they trust: farmers, even organic Colorado farmers, doctors, the American Medical Association, researchers at Colorado State University, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the British Royal Society and the list goes on and on of respected scientists and organizations that have found GMO processes and products safe.

The truth is, there isn’t one good reason to approve this proposition — not one. Vote “no” on Proposition 105.[3]

Aurora Sentinel[20]

  • The Post Independent said,
Those who want food without GMOs — and we don’t have room to discuss the likelihood of accuracy on labels — should lobby the federal government to require such labels. And they should immediately work to build demand for food that is voluntarily labeled as such — something that won’t lead to lawsuits and won’t cost taxpayers money or put Colorado farmers at risk. Food labeled USDA organic is barred from including GMOs.

If the demand is there, companies will make more labeled non-GMO products. This is a vote you should make with your grocery cart.[3]

Post Independent[21]

  • The Gazette said,
But just in case, we have legal protection for those avoiding GMOs. Products labeled "100% certified organic" cannot legally contain GMOs in any state. Shoppers who desire only "non-GMO" foods have an abundance of options that will only increase. They don't need a negative labeling mandate on everything else. Protect affordable food and the jobs provided by those who produce it. Vote no on Prop 105.[3]


  • Steamboat Today said,
After studying the issue and listening to both sides, we think Proposition 105 would harm ranchers and farmers, create more bureaucracy, stigmatize food produced in the state and increase food costs for Colorado families. We urge Routt County residents to vote “no.”[3]

Steamboat Today[23]


Biotech, pesticide and grocery corporations challenged the measure; however, the Colorado Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favor of Colorado Right to Know, allowing supporters to move forward in their attempts to land the initiative on the November 2014 ballot.[24]


See also: Polls, 2014 ballot measures

Respondents to the Suffolk University Political Research Center poll were asked the following:[25]

Proposition 105 is related to labeling genetically modified food. Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes concerning labeling of genetically modified food; and, in connection therewith, requiring food that has been genetically modified or treated with genetically modified material to be labeled, "Produced With Genetic Engineering" starting on July 1, 2016?


Colorado Proposition 105 (2014)
Poll Support OpposeUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Suffolk University
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing the initiative process in Colorado

Supporters were required to obtain at least 86,105 valid signatures by August 4, 2014, in order to place the measure on the ballot. Colorado Right to Know reported in mid-July that they had collected about 90,000 signatures.[26] Supporters submitted over 167,995 signatures on August 4.[27] On August 20, 2014, the secretary of state confirmed enough valid signatures were certified, allowing the measure to go before voters.[28]

Related measures

See also

Additional reading


  1. 1.0 1.1 High Plains Public Radio, "Push for GMO labeling comes to Colorado," December 8, 2013
  2. Colorado Secretary of State, "Results for Proposed Initiative #48," accessed September 8, 2014
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  4. Colorado Secretary of State, "2013-14 #48 - Final Text: Colorado Right to Know Act," accessed September 9, 2014
  5. Associated Press, "Ore. activists announce GMO labeling campaign," May 15, 2014
  6. The Atlantic, "Want to Know If Your Food Is Genetically Modified?: Across the country, an aggressive grassroots movement is winning support with its demands for GMO labeling. If only it had science on its side." May 14, 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Right to Know Colorado, "FAQS & Resources," accessed October 3, 2014
  8. Denver Post, "Denver-based Chipotle to support GMO labeling ballot measure in Colorado," October 14, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 Legislative Council of the Colorado General Assembly, "2014 State Ballot Information Booklet," accessed October 6, 2014
  10. TRACER, "Right to Know Colorado GMO," accessed October 26, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 No on Prop 105, "Why Colorado Farmers and Food Producers Oppose Proposition 105," accessed October 1, 2014
  12. No On 105, "The Misleading and Costly Food Labeling Proposition," accessed October 6, 2014
  13. TRACER, "No on 105 Coalition," accessed October 26, 2014
  14. ECONorthwest, "What We Do," accessed October 8, 2014
  15. 15.0 15.1 ECONorthwest, "GE Foods Labeling Cost Study Findings," September 12, 2014
  16. American Association for the Advancement of Science, "Statement by the AAAS Board of Directors On Labeling of Genetically Modified Foods," October 20, 2012
  17. Daily Camera, "Endorsements, 2014," November 2, 2014
  18. Denver Post, "Vote "no" on Proposition 105, GMO labeling measure," October 9, 2014
  19. Longmont Times-Call, "No on Amendments 67, 68 and Proposition 105; Yes on Proposition 104," October 15, 2014
  20. Aurora Sentinel, "Proposition 105: Vote ‘no’ on this recipe for disaster," October 22, 2014
  21. Post Independent, "Our View: GMO labeling: Fine sentiment, bad law," October 24, 2014
  22. Gazette, "Vote 'no' on Proposition 105 mandate for food labeling," October 22, 2014
  23. [ Steamboat Today, " Our View: Proposition 105 is costly and confusing," October 18, 2014]
  24. Natural Products Insider, "Colorado Supreme Court OKs Ballot Title on GMO Labeling Initiative," March 19, 2014
  25. Suffolk University Political Research Center, "October 22, 2014 Colorado US Senate, Governor & General Election," accessed October 27, 2014
  26. The Colorado Statesman, "Potential for real food fight if GMO labeling makes ballot," July 11, 2014
  27. Facebook, "Right To Know Colorado - GM0," August 4, 2014
  28. CBS Denver, "GMO Labels Cleared To Be On Colorado Ballot," August 20, 2014