Organic Consumers Association

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Hawaii Council Seeks Labeling Requirements for Genetically Engineered Foods

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Hawaii News page, Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

After a couple of scheduling hiccups and a much-appreciated time extension granted by the Hawaii State Association of Counties' (HSAC) Executive Committee, Maui County was once again able to pass the proposed GMO (genetically modified organism) labeling resolution on to the HSAC Legislative Committee for inclusion in the draft HSAC package for this upcoming state legislative session. The resolution was passed unanimously, with members Gladys Baisa and Don Couch voting with reservations and Mike White excused.

The resolution addresses the concern that the long-term effects of consuming genetically engineered foods are unclear, and that without the mandatory labeling requirements of these foods, consumers may unknowingly be putting their health at risk. The resolution was drafted around the consumer's right-to-know what is in food available for sale, so that they can make informed purchasing choices.

Last year, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii County all voted to include this resolution in the HSAC package with the intention of sending a unified message to state legislators that our counties support having the right-to-know. Unfortunately, the resolution died because the City and County of Honolulu did not support it.

This year, we are trying diligently once again to garner the support of all of the counties to pass this resolution for inclusion in the HSAC package. (Hawaii County also submitted a proposed GMO labeling resolution to the HSAC package.) If our resolution is supported by all four councils and passed at the State Legislature, it would require that beginning Jan. 1, 2014, no food or raw agriculture commodity would be sold in the state if it contains a genetically engineered material, or was produced with a genetically engineered material, unless it bears a label that provides the following disclosure notice in bold-faced print and not less than ten-point type: "THIS PRODUCT CONTAINS A GENETICALLY ENGINEERED MATERIAL, OR WAS PRODUCED WITH A GENETICALLY ENGINEERED MATERIAL."
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