GMO Labeling Bill Advances in House

The House Committee on Agriculture (AGR) unanimously adopted HB174, which would require all GMO produce imported into the state to be labeled. The measure also passed Second Reading and advances to the Committee on Consumer Protection & Commerce. The advancement of the bill puts Hawaii on track to become the first state in the nation to require some form of GMO labeling.

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The bill was originally heard on Monday in a hearing that spanned more than 5 hours in the Capitol Auditorium. Hundreds of pieces of testimony from key stakeholders surrounding the issue were used to develop a draft that could keep the conversation on GMO labeling moving.

The latest version of HB174 is much narrower in focus than the original and addresses a great deal of the concerns voiced during Monday’s hearing. Under the most recent draft, only imported GMO produce would require labeling. GMO produce that is grown in Hawaii, most notably Rainbow Papaya, would not require a label. Processed foods, meat, poultry and dairy would also be exempt from the labeling requirement.

“This was the first time in the history of the House that a GMO labeling bill has made it out of committee,” said AGR Chair Jessica Wooley (Kaneohe, Heeia, Ahuimanu, Kahaluu, Haiku Valley, Mokuoloe). “The draft that was adopted was a true compromise that resulted in a victory for the people of Hawaii. Local farmers will not be negatively impacted, we will not have to pay for labeling on processed foods, meat or dairy, and, most importantly, people will be able to know what they’re eating.”

 

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