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.”

 

Bills on Taro, GMOs, and Local Agriculture to be Heard at the Legislature

Bills on Taro, GMOs, and Local Agriculture to be Heard

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WHAT:            The Committee on Agriculture will be hearing several bills relating to taro, GMOs, and growing our local agriculture industry.

WHEN:            Monday, February 4, 2013, 8:30 A.M.

WHERE:           Hawaii State Capitol Auditorium

WHY:               The Constitution of Hawaii mandates that the State “shall conserve and protect agricultural lands, promote diversified agriculture, increase agricultural self-sufficiency and assure the availability of agriculturally suitable lands.” These goals are also highlighted as a major priority in the Governor’s “New Day” plan. The Legislature aims to do its part to move Hawaii forward this Session.

WHO:               Chair Jessica Wooley, Vice Chair Richard H.K. Onishi, Reps. Tom Brower, Romy Cachola, Isaac Choy, Takashi Ohno, Gregg Takayama, James Kunane Tokioka, Clift Tsuji, Lauren Kealohilani Cheape, and Gene Ward comprise the Committee.

“This is a really exciting time for local agriculture,” said Rep. Jessica Wooley. “These bills could represent a turning point in the future of agriculture in Hawaii. Food security, increased local food production, recognizing consumers’ right to know what they’re eating, and protecting the most culturally significant crop in Hawaii are at the forefront of our agenda.”

The Hearing Notices posted below contain the bills on Monday’s agenda as well as links to submit online testimony.

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2013/hearingnotices/HEARING_AGR-WAL_02-04-13_.HTM

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2013/hearingnotices/HEARING_AGR_02-04-13_.HTM