This year’s “Blue Book,” the state-produced voter’s guide written by Colorado’s Legislative Research Council, will tell general election voters that requiring labeling of genetically engineered ingredients will raise food prices and cost consumers. It is a major setback for Proposition 105, which only last month was approved for the ballot after a last-minute paid signature-gathering drive by the Right to Know Colorado GMO Committee. About 130 signature gatherers, who together got checks totaling about $50,000, were able to qualify the initiative for the November ballot when about three out of four signatures submitted to the Colorado Secretary of State were found to be valid. Such paid signature-gathering campaigns are common for initiatives. However, when turning in signatures, the GMO Right to Know Colorado campaign tried to depict the campaign as primarily a voluntary effort. Pages of payments to signature gatherers, however, were only recently reported to the Colorado Secretary of State. The fact that labeling mandates would cost consumers money is not new. Sara Froelich, spokeswoman for the opposition Coalition Against the Misleading Labeling Initiative, said that food prices “will absolutely rise” to the tune of hundreds of dollars for the average family. However, to have Colorado’s “Blue Book” making the same point is a huge plus for the opposition because the voter guide is viewed as the only factual source for wading through the state’s complicated ballot measures. And the inclusion of the cost of GMO labeling is seen as so significant that the decision to include it quickly went viral on Twitter and political blogs in the state. The importance of what is printed in a state voter’s guide was illustrated as recently as last November when the “No” campaign on Initiative 522 in Washington state was seen as having “won” the pro-and-con debate format included in that publication. Voters in all-mail-ballot states such as Washington, Oregon and Colorado have become accustomed to putting their voter guides and ballots aside in one place until they are ready to “read and vote.” GMO labeling initiatives so far have failed in both California and Washington. In those states, the initiatives started out with huge leads but support eventually collapsed under the weight of heavy opposition spending and largely unfavorable editorials in local newspapers. The Right to Know Colorado GMO campaign has raised $192,442 since its inception last year and has just under $40,000 on hand. The opposition Coalition Against Misleading Labeling Initiative has raised a little less than $200,000, and, for the period ending Aug. 27, had a negative fund balance of $28,282. It has signed up Winner & Mandabach and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, two experienced California ballot initiative firms that usually end up on the winning side. Half of the coalition’s contributions have come from the Grocery Manufacturing Association. Oregon voters will also vote on a GMO labeling ballot measure in November. In all four states, the organic industry provided significant funding to qualify the ballot measures. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, Health Canada, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization and the National Academies of Science all find genetically modified food ingredients safe, with no negative health effects associated with their use.