Hawaii Tries to Pass GMO Food Labeling Law with SB2736

gmo lableing hawaii

gmo lableing hawaiiThis time next year all of Hawaii could have a GMO food labeling bill that requires Monsanto, Syngenta, and other Biotech and Agriculture companies to label their frankenfoods. Senate Bill 2736 has been emotionally debated in a community hearing held earlier this week, and if enthusiastic ‘No to GMO’ advocates get their way, then all genetically  modified foods will be labeled as such by January 1, 2015. The discussion on this topic was kept until the very end of a community forum, with many people who had shown up to support the bill having to leave prior to its discussion being taken up.

What stands in the way of SB2736 is the Agriculture Committee, where it was referred, circumnavigating committees in charge of finances and consumer protection. Senator Rosalyn Baker is concerned that it won’t get past the Agriculture Committee since the Chairman of this committee is Clarence Nishihara, who has been opposed to labeling GMOs. Baker lamented, “It’s doubtful, I think, with that line-up that the bill would get another hearing, but one never knows.”

SB2736 is just one of many GMO-bills the Agricultural Committee is reviewing this year. Other bills under review would require more biotech disclosure and still others would ban GMO in Hawaii altogether.

You can contact Clarence Nishihara, and let him know just what you think of GMO, as well as Ronald D. Kouchi, the Vice-chair of the committee about to review this important GMO legislation.  If you’ve ever visited Hawaii, or dreamed of visiting, you have a right to demand non-genetically modified foods for now and future generations.

Related: Hawaii Firs State to Ban Plastic Shopping Bags

Other bills related to GMOs that were introduced in the Senate include Senate Bill 2955 and Senate Bill 2737, both of which would require more disclosure from biotech companies.

“Given that we don’t have a referendum/initiative process in Hawaii, a constitutional amendment is the next best thing,” Gabbard said via email, adding that the proposal is patterned after referendums in California and Washington. “This bill would be a great way to let the people have a real voice on this important issue.”

But one of the bigger issues is the proposal of other bills that may ‘interfere’ with the imposed restrictions on big biotech, such as Nishihara’s proposal to amend Hawaii’s “Right to Farm” law.

“The right of farmers and ranchers to engage in modern farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this State,” Nishihara’s bill, Senate Bill 3058, says. “No law, ordinance, or resolution of any unit of local government shall be enacted that abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural technology, modern livestock production, and ranching practices not prohibited by federal or state law, rules, or regulations.”

We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.