Council supports GMO labels

SUBHEAD: Intergovernmental Relations Committee unanimously approved proposal to label GMO products in Hawaii.  

By Leo Azambuza on 25 November 2011 for the Garden Island -

Image above: GMO seed corm planted near Koloa Mill on Kauai. From from original article.

Would you knowingly eat corn containing a highly concentrated biotoxin in its DNA? Would you eat papaya genetically modified to fight a virus? Would you eat soy that can withstand enormous amounts of weed killer and grow perfectly fine?

Right now, you don’t have a choice. There is no law in the United States requiring that genetically modified organisms be labeled. About 90 percent of the food products found in stores nowadays contain GMO ingredients, a representative for the billion-dollar GMO industry said last week,

Kaua‘i is debating whether to support changing the law and joining 21 countries and the European Union, which already have some sort of mandatory GMO labeling, according to County Councilwoman Nadine Nakamura.

“The federal government has let people down, and that’s why we are asking (GMO products) to be labeled,” said Ken Taylor, a Kapa‘a resident and former Kaua‘i County Council hopeful.

Kapa‘a resident Lonnie Sykos had harsher words. “We object to being human guinea pigs,” he said.

Siding with Maui County, the Kaua‘i County Council’s Intergovernmental Relations Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved including a proposal to label GMO products in the 2012 Hawai‘i State Association of Counties legislative package.

Council members reached the decision after hearing testimony on Nov. 16 and 23, and sorting through approximately 60 letters of written testimony from all over the state — 10 to 1 in support of the proposal, according to Councilman KipuKai Kuali‘i.

Kapaia resident and private chef Ginger Carson supports labeling. Apparently her geese just won’t eat GMO foods. Carson said she tried to feed them GMO corn, but they wouldn’t even get close to it. With papaya peelings — normally a delicacy for the birds — it’s the same story. The geese won’t touch it, she said.

Despite many health concerns brought up during testimony, Councilman Tim Bynum clarified the issue.

“This isn’t about banning, this isn’t about testing,” he said. “It’s about giving people a choice.”

Carson, Taylor and Sykos were among a group of approximately a dozen residents who testified Wednesday in favor of labeling GMO products. Not one speaker on Wednesday opposed was to labeling.

On Nov. 16, the field was more level with several speakers — including a scientist, a GMO industry representative and farmers — vehemently opposed to labeling.

“I’m very adamant about this position,” said farmer Roy Oyama, speaking on behalf of Kaua‘i Farm Bureau. Oyama opposes labeling because he feras it would increase costs for farmers who are already struggling to make ends meet.

If the issue clears all hurdles and becomes law, Hawai‘i may not be the first or last in the U.S. to approve such restrictions. Next year, the state of California will likely put a similar resolution in a ballot, given that a little over 500,000 signatures have been collected. Oyama said he believes California will pass the resolution.

The full council is expected to give the issue a final vote next week. If approved, it will be on the table at the next Hawaii State Association of Counties meeting on Dec. 23.

Councilman Mel Rapozo said council members in the city and county of Honolulu stopped the proposal at the committee level, but he encouraged Kaua‘i residents to send written testimony to Honolulu, the same way testimony from Maui, O‘ahu and Moloka‘i was sent to Kaua‘i County’s council.

Letting people know what is in their food is very important, said Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura. Although Nakamura agreed with Yukimura, she had some concerns.

Nakamura voted for the proposal but said she does not believe the state would be able to enforce such a regulation, which is more of a federal government deal. The state can’t even enforce its own regulations, she said.
See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Non-GMO Shopping Guide 8/15/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai Council argues GMO labels 11/17/11
Ea O Ka Aina: GMO-HFCS by another name 9/15/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Maui GMO Labeling 9/12/11


1 comment :

Anonymous said...

That guy Roy Oyama is a tool of the over-throwers, and Hawaii State government,(Dept. of Ag.) he thinks he is important, and a somebody. However he is just a tool, and if he hadn't sucked up all those years, he and his family wouldn't be where they are now. Always an advocate for what ever his handlers tell him to be. He is really the small sustainable farmers worst enemy.

He is one of the local guys that is most responsible for that stinking shrimp farm in Kekaha being, only a shrimp farm, and not full of affordable diversified agriculture farm for lots, for different small farmers growing, and doing different things to contribute to Kauai's agriculture self sufficiency. Now he advocates for GMO's as grown by Monsanto & duPont (Syngenta, & Pioneer) According to him poison is good for you... & Hawaii. Wrong!

Roy Oyama should be ashamed of himself, and shut up, hasn't he already done enough damage to happy healthy lives and diversified agriculture on Kauai for one life time.

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