Kauai Council argues GMO labeling

SUBHEAD: The Maui council-generated measure was a part of the State Association of Counties legislative package.

 By Andy Parx on 17 November 2011 for Parx News Daily - 

Image above: Illustration of Organic vs GMO Tomato used in article about Obama's embrace of corporate food.From (http://politicsoftheplate.com/?p=377).

Though we haven't viewed it yet, reports are that the Kauai County Council got quite the last minute earful at yesterday's meeting on a recommendation for a state legislative bill that would require labeling of foods containing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). The Maui council-generated measure was a part of the Hawai`i State Association of Counties (HSAC) legislative package that all four counties must approve for the recommendations to be sent to the 2012 legislature for consideration and, although the package has been on the council's agenda for more than a month, it was the first discussion of the proposal.

Previously the council had concentrated only on their own recommendation for a bill to close loopholes in the solar hot water mandate for new construction which had undergone changes before being sent, along with the rest of the package, to the full council from committee a week ago, seemingly destined for final disposition yesterday. But a last minute barrage of emails and Facebook postings by GMO-Free Kaua`i turned out the anti-GMO troops and, according to a Facebook posting by GMO-Free 's Jeri Di Pietro, the council re-referred the package back to committee to be debated next Wednesday.

But while the measure is still alive on Kauai, according to Big Mike Levine of Civil Beat, it may face the ax on O`ahu where the Honolulu City Council removed the measure from the package in committee on Tuesday and sent it to the full council without the bill that would require GMO products to say so on thhe labels.

The good news though is that Honolulu didn't reject it because they didn't agree with the bill but because, according to Levine, even though "Safety, Economic Development and Government Affairs Committee Chair Tulsi Gabbard said it's a matter of people knowing what they're feeding their families," she "eventually recommended that the GMO measure be removed, saying it's an important issue that needs a full airing that can't happen now under the tight timeline for the legislative package."

 But even though the bill may not get the recommendation of HSAC this year, it's important that the precautionary principle be stressed next week to the council which needs an education on the issue to counter the various farm bureaus' silly contention that because "no one has gotten sick or died" (failing to add "yet") from GMOs, they're perfectly safe and therefore, for some reason, people shouldn't be told what's in their food.

According to Wikipedia, the Precautionary Principle states that "if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action." Of course the various individual island farm bureaus are populated by Pioneer and Sygenta sycophants who never seem to be able to answer the question of how people would know they were getting sick or otherwise suffering harm from GMO products if they don't know they're eating them.

 If you care about the issue, either write the council at counciltestimony@kauai.gov or better still, show up next Wednesday at 9 a.m. and tell them in person. It may be an uphill fight with big campaign cash and yelps of "jobs, jobs, jobs for the westside" from the industry, but now that the FDA has apparently permitted individual jurisdictions to pass their own labeling laws, the fight has to begin somewhere and with its corn seed folks spreading their Frankenfood pollen all over Waimea, Kauai is as good a place as any to start.


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