Hawaii Celebrates as Agri Committee Backs First Stage of GMO Labeling Bill

Posted on Feb 8 2013 - 2:29pm by Sustainable Pulse

Lawmakers in Hawaii have become some of the first in the US to support labelling on genetically modified food after the House Committee on Agriculture passed a new measure.

The committee approved the bill Thursday but amended it so it only applies to produce imported from outside Hawaii. You can track the full bill here as it progresses.

Numerous proponents of the bill testified before the House committee this week.

They say they deserve to know whether the food they are buying has been genetically modified.

House agriculture committee Chairwoman Jessica Wooley says because the bill only affects produce brought in from outside Hawaii, it benefits local farms and won’t cause food prices to rise.

In the continental U.S., New Mexico and Washington are considering labeling of foods that have been genetically engineered, after California voters last November rejected Proposition 37.

Proponents of GMO labeling maintain consumers have the right to know what’s in their food.

“I and many mothers deserve the right to know what we are feeding our children,” Jessica Mitchell, a parent who testified in favor of the bill, was quoted as stating in the AP report.

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65 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Ivan Jokain-Witcha February 8, 2013 at 20:39 - Reply

    It’s a step in the right direction. But it should include all foods, even those grown in Hawaii. There is still much work to be done. We have the right to know what we are eating.

    • KCashatt February 9, 2013 at 05:36 - Reply

      Couldn’t be happier it still paves the way for other states to quit the pandering. I am dancing in the living room right now!

    • michael golden February 9, 2013 at 06:05 - Reply

      You all know that it’s monsanto and sygenta who are probably behind lobbying the legislators in the state to not be labelling it’s own produce that’s probably completely tainted with GMO’s by them !!! SHAMEFUL !!! BURN DOWN THOSE FIELDS – THAT WILL STOP THEM !!!! Time for some old-style earth first monkey wrenching !!!

      • Leanne February 10, 2013 at 08:59 - Reply

        The biotechs have Hawai’i under siege. They have enacted laws that make it a felony to even unknowingly trespass on Ag land here. Burning down the crops isn’t a viable answer, but I’m thinking there should perhaps be a rise in growing Amaranth here…

    • Jim February 10, 2013 at 02:53 - Reply

      Absolutely, Monsanto will just flood the local market with franken-crops otherwise. After all, we are talking about seriously evil people here.

    • Guy Stroup February 10, 2013 at 20:02 - Reply

      Hawaii celebrates shallow victory! I guess a start is a start. Why should the people of Hawaii be treated like mushrooms, (kept in the dark and feed, who knows what from there local growers). The bottom line is that the farming industry has moved into Hawaii to make money. The health concerns of the locals can be quashed with a seemingly progressive victory such as this. This win is a well calculated facade, designed to appease the natives while the farming industry uses and abuses the land, sells locally without discloser, ships there franken-food out to other venues they’ve duped and all for the promise of lower prices. Wouldn’t the price of local food be cheeper anyway, without the shipping cost? I’m surprised there not offering beads and free blankets with this deal! Shame on corporate greed!

  2. Pauli Halstead February 8, 2013 at 20:59 - Reply

    Hawaiian lawmakers need to educate themselves on GMO’s. Most GMO’s are grains, such as corn, soy, wheat, canola, cotton, etc. What good is labeling imported produce going to do. GMO’s will still be arriving in Hawaii in the forms of fast food, pre-packaged food products and condiments, soy products, cooking oils made from the above grains and meat products which have been fed GMO grains. Lets get real here. You have done nothing.

    • Leanne February 10, 2013 at 09:05 - Reply

      Hawai’i is the GMO seed source of the world. More of their seeds are grown here than anywhere else in the world. We are all well aware of GMO’s, and the politicians here are no strangers to the same stranglehold the industry has on the entire nation’s food supply. There’s as much corruption here as in DC, and biotech corps have just as much influence at the state level as the national level. It’s horrid!

      This is just a sliver of what we were hoping for, but it’s SOMETHING – and truth be told, it’s something of a miracle even this passed. Many dedicated souls worked tirelessly and against fierce opposition to get this done.

  3. Raphiell Nolin February 9, 2013 at 02:53 - Reply

    That is terrific! But how about GM foods grown in Hawaii? Why not include them too???

    • [email protected] February 9, 2013 at 11:58 - Reply

      Monsanto !!!!! And it’s other corporate entities!!

      • Timothy February 12, 2013 at 04:15 - Reply

        Remember what “terminator” did to Cyberdyne ?

    • mike martin February 9, 2013 at 18:59 - Reply

      I agree with the other posters, this is a great first step, but Monsatan has to be dismantled and the legislators who take money from them must be held accountable.

    • 808culture February 10, 2013 at 11:00 - Reply

      I agree. Why are Hawaii products left out of this decree? Food is food and GMO’s are GMO’s no matter where they arrive from or are grown.

  4. Travis Porter February 9, 2013 at 04:29 - Reply

    so, is this only for produce and not for pre packaged foods? most G M O ingredients are in pre packaged foods, those are the ones that really need to be labelled

  5. Jackie Leginus February 9, 2013 at 08:21 - Reply

    Way to go Hawaii now the rest of the states and Canada

    • henry February 10, 2013 at 23:25 - Reply

      Absolutely Jackie and Sustainable Pulse aims to support all pro GMO Labeling campaigns across the US and Canada.

  6. Maureen February 9, 2013 at 09:00 - Reply

    Agreed, it’s a step in the right direction. Why do we protect the Hawaii growers? Oh, that’s right, money. We need labeling of all foods, not just those from outside the state.

  7. [email protected] February 9, 2013 at 11:55 - Reply

    This is a positive step, now to place a GMO stamp on all processed foods as well as local produce that utilizes GMO’s…. That is a step towards a positive future!!

  8. sada anand kaur February 9, 2013 at 15:29 - Reply

    Keep pressing for full disclosure of GMOs in all foods. We must defeat Monsanto by banning all GMOs from our aina. Our work is ahead of us. All great journeys start with but a step…

  9. Greengate February 9, 2013 at 16:23 - Reply

    As it was said on the Netflix “House of Cards,” program “How do you eat a whale? One bite at a time.” Monsanto is the whale and one bite has been taken!!

  10. tj February 9, 2013 at 20:26 - Reply

    GMO labeling on ALL foods; repeal PLDC; reject Agenda 21. There is much work to be done. Keep screaming!

  11. Frances Moran February 9, 2013 at 21:25 - Reply

    Company’s do not want to label there products because they are afraid it will affect there sales.
    I agree it is our right to know which products have been genetically altered. Passage of this law in Hawaii indicates people are interested in knowing what they are eating.

  12. Astrid Drolson February 9, 2013 at 22:10 - Reply

    Well, one step in the right direction. Will not save you from hawaii gmo papaya thats sold in hawaii. Babystep in the direction we need to go. Labeling all foods that contain gmo will be the true way, so consumers can choose what they want. Lets keep moving forward in this direction

  13. Christie Czerniak February 9, 2013 at 23:07 - Reply

    Too bad the bill doesn’t call for labeling Island products as well. Luckily most people living in Hawai’i already know that all the papaya and pineapple from the islands are genetically modified.

    • larry February 10, 2013 at 01:18 - Reply

      I’m confused here. People are acting like a law was passed, but I see one committee in one the house and none in the Senate. I think there is a long way to go still

    • Leanne February 10, 2013 at 09:14 - Reply

      Everyone knows the Rainbow papaya is GM.

      The pineapples are NOT GM, though. There are some hybrids, but these are not genetically engineered.

      • Roots Man April 7, 2014 at 19:32 - Reply

        Hi. I was searching for Non-GMO Pineapples from Hawaii and came across this forum. I was a little iffy on purchasing the Dole brand since they made contributions to oust prop 37. Which brand and where can I find Organic or Non-GMO pineapples in Honolulu. I recently moved back to Oahu from the mainland and have gotten used to buying organic Costa Rican pineapples while I was there. The Dole brand pineapples seem very large. Is this due to hybridization? It looks a little too large and scary. Lol

  14. Courtney Bruch February 10, 2013 at 01:55 - Reply

    Thank you for you enthusiasm AND this bill passed out of the Ag committee but has more committees to pass through. Please do your research and set the truth straight! I am concerned that this disinformation is going to take energy away from people realizing how important the HI gmo labeling bills are and that they still need testimony and attention! Yes is did pass the Ag committee but it has many more hoops to go through before it’s law.
    Please track this bill! www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=174&year=2013

    • henry February 10, 2013 at 23:21 - Reply

      Thank you Courtney. We agree at Sustainable Pulse that we need to not be over enthusiastic at this stage (although this is a big step in the right direction) – thank you for the link – we have edited our article accordingly. Although the original was accurate we have decided to tone it down.

  15. Sara February 10, 2013 at 02:53 - Reply

    Sad that we have to go to court over something that shouldn’t be so obvious. Next, we need to bring to court the elected representatives who support these Monsters and not the American people.

  16. stephen kelland February 10, 2013 at 05:40 - Reply

    most pineapple is already GMO ,guess who grows the most pineapples

  17. Tiffany S February 10, 2013 at 06:35 - Reply

    this is a very TINY BABY STEP in the right direction. Pretty sad that they KNOW that GMOs are on the islands and yet they ignore it because they are pocketing money from a corrupt system. So, the fresh produce is the only GMO that is bad?! OY! How ignorant are these folks?

  18. mdd February 10, 2013 at 10:11 - Reply

    This law is WORTHLESS. It’s a snail step to nowhere. Wake up people! This is useless legislation designed to make you think they care about informing you. Garbage information on a product is as good as no information. Those of you who are praising this in any way, are praising something that’s simply not praise-worthy.

    • GMOsRevil February 10, 2013 at 22:49 - Reply

      Dear MDD:

      I believe that you are quite incorrect. I will admit that we have a ways to go to rid the planet of Monsanto, herbicides, pesticides, GMOs, and fake science and fake scientists.

      What we have in Hawaii is, at last, a step in the right direction. California failed to lead the nation; California may no longer be the leader and barometer it once. And so we must be grateful for Hawaii’s great achievement.

      As has been said many times before: What will Monsanto do next? Who will be bribed next? Who will be threatened next? What crooked PR (propaganda) firm will be hired to implement big biotech’s next insidious move?

  19. Joe Jacovino February 10, 2013 at 17:51 - Reply

    Frankenfood should be for Frankenstein, it should not be on your plate or mine* from my song “The White Bread Song (You Are What You Eat) check it out on myspace if you can. otherwise, one small step for man, a giant step for mankind, to use a quote from the late Neil Armstrong, but Monsatan needs to be pushed back, they are spending a fortune lobbying to poison us, and i guarantee they all eat organic everything, f*&^cking slugs that they are

  20. Bob Stone February 10, 2013 at 18:21 - Reply

    Great to know what’s in our food. Does anyone know what’s in SPAM?

    • Rich February 11, 2013 at 10:08 - Reply


  21. GMOsRevil February 10, 2013 at 22:52 - Reply


  22. Jeanice Barcelo February 10, 2013 at 22:57 - Reply

    Well said Paul! This new law is absurd, especially considering that Monsanto has set up shot right there in the middle of Kihei, Maui, growing all of it’s mutant foods and poisoning all of life right from Hawaii. Hawaii produces a HUGE amount of GMO produce!!! If you eat a Hawaiian papaya that is not organic, for example, you are eating GMO food. WAKE UP AMERICA! GMO FOODS NEED TO BE BANNED, NOT LABELED!!! THIS LABELING NONSENSE IS A COMPLETE DISTRACTION! MONSANTO NEEDS TO BE ELIMINATED AND THEIR TOP PEOPLE IMPRISONED. This new law is not only shallow and stupid, but a complete farce.

  23. ana February 11, 2013 at 05:26 - Reply

    We ARE the GMO foods! GMO pretty much covers this island.

  24. cindy February 11, 2013 at 05:37 - Reply

    I AGREE WITH Jeanice Barcelo GMO’S MUST BE OUTLAWED! Monsatan’s plan is to make gmo’s so WIDE SPREAD, it will be IMPOSSIBLE to STOP them!
    DON’T WAIT FOR LABELING , DON’T buy processed foods, non organic , and fast foods!
    These companies are hear to make a profit—SO LETS TAKE THE PROFIT OUT!!
    DON’T SUPPORT THEM!! Get in the kitchen and COOK!!

  25. Rich February 11, 2013 at 10:07 - Reply

    That’s crazy. I don’t know of any crops Monsanto grows in Hawaii for sale here.

    • pualaniomolokai February 12, 2013 at 23:05 - Reply

      Monsantos corn seeds do grow most of the feed for mainland beef, along with corn for oil; new crops growing here are GMO soybeans… and some sweet corn for local kine fundraisers….label and refuse to buy GMO products…together we can!

  26. Makana February 11, 2013 at 21:35 - Reply

    The bill, IF passed, would not go into effect until 2050. Useless.

  27. debbie February 11, 2013 at 23:55 - Reply

    We really cannot expect legislature to do this for us. we need to wake up as a society and stop supporting companies that are using GMOs. it’s no mystery what foods are being contaminated. so don’t eat processed foods, and buy organic. don’t patronize costco, or restaurants that serve nothing but costco crap and generic produce. inquire when you go to a restaurant if the cheese they are going to put on your sandwich or the milk going in your latte is organic and hormone free. Bring your own Organic shoyu to the sushi bar, and tell them you don’t want their GM tofu or edamame. Request food grown with integrity, and don’t hesitate to walk out of an establishment if you won’t find it there. If we each take initiative on every level, then things will start changing. No restaurant wants to be called out for sourcing poor ingredients, and really no person should want to consume those poor ingredients. So start asking questions, keep shopping at Mana (or your LOCAL healthfood store of choice) and constantly support the NO GMO movement with your dollar, as well as your influence. We need to continue to educate ourselves and our friends and family on the important issue of GMO foods, because we are the consumers… and this has become our responsibility.

  28. Kris February 12, 2013 at 01:09 - Reply

    Aloha. Remember, one of the main reasons why GMO Labeling didn’t pass in Cali was because it did not include the labeling of products shipped in from out of the US. It seems that your legislation is addressing GM food from the lesson learned from Cali’s rejection, under the understanding that this will protect hawaiian farmers. But it is a first step! Hopefully here in Washington, we can approach legislation from both ends, and require all food products with GMO labeling.( Including animal feed!) Thank goodness Microsoft or Boeing haven’t come out with some type of GMO product, or any GMO legislation would have been laughed out of our capitol. Hopefully we can continue our progressive legislation and legislate GMO’s out of our state! And eventually put a stop to GMOs. ( I guess we will find out what type of lobbying power agro/chemical businesses have in Washington state.) Good luck Hawaii!

  29. Gordean February 19, 2013 at 19:53 - Reply

    Aloha all, best bet is to find heirloom seeds and grow your own foods. Buy foods at farmers market from people who are growing organic foods that are labeled organic and certify because some people say organic and thats not true. Stop eating fast foods Hawaii. We should all be part of the solution no matter what steps we take towards good foods in Hawaii and not be part of the problem.

  30. Cash Snowden February 27, 2013 at 17:57 - Reply

    Effective July 1, 2112 ??? That’s what the bill says when I click on the ‘track this bill’ link. Are they serious? Am I the only one to notice this? What does it mean? That it stops being effective in 100 years or that it won’t start till then?

  31. LEO G YOUNGER February 28, 2013 at 10:24 - Reply

    Thank you. Please remember what Stalin said (in translation, something like the following), “It’s not who votes; it’s who counts the votes.”

  32. Unmani Cynthia Groves, health care practice management consultant since 1985 March 6, 2013 at 10:35 - Reply

    Breaking News today 3/5/2013~

    We the people of Hawaii were HEARD by our state House on the HB 174 GMO Labeling bill. Originally a bill to label all GMO products, this bill morfed into a GMO imports bill–a partial victory for the people getting support through the Hawaii State House to at this point to cross over to the Senate. The effective date for the bill is July 1, 2112 “for further dialogue””– 99 years from now–so you seriously wonder what the world would be like by then without a date change. Noteworthy, testimony was very strong through the House Agriculture Committee, House Consumer Protection Committee, and House Finance Committee. Prior, all of the outer island County Councils including Big island of Hawaii, Kauai, Maui County ( includes Maui, Molokai, and Lani) and 6 areas of Oahu supported 100% labeling of ALL GMO products. The full County council of Honolulu in Oahu was unable to vote on the measure even though 6 areas of Oahu already supported the measure. It’s a start and got good press and attention from our legislature. It sends a message definitely to the FDA from our beloved Hawaii nei by the Hawaii state House that represents her people that we want labeling of GE foods, the right to know what GE is in our foods and the right to protect our genetic lineages.

    History of the bills www.capitol.hawaii.gov and type in HB174 or SB615

    Any persons in other states considering testimony that would like to review very strong testimony should go to www.capitol.hawaii.gov and type in HB174 or SB615 and look at the testimony Over 400 GMO Labeling supporters sent in very thoughtful written testimony on the two GMO labeling bills heard and numbers of residents testified. The food and beverage industry, cattle industry, and biotech industry, Dept of Health were not in favor deferring to the FDA. This gives you a good idea of the pro and against GMO labeling arguments so you know what the arguments are, as well and the HI attorney general’s comments.

    Consumers and organizations: The FDA and biotech industry claims there are no negative incidents noteworthy which show direct cause to warrant the need for human studies on GE foods. One concern at this point is cumulative effects affecting health and the environment, as well as addictive GE additives to food. Asparatame is a worldwide controversial GE ingredient, is one of a number listed on food packages as “Flavorings.” Flavorings, in particular, asparatame is the current product up for FDA comment in milk in which babies and children are targeted. GE salmon is the other up for FDA comment period.

    This is a additionally a call for verifiable data, incidents or studies, PLEASE put them through the FDA website under www.fda.gov/Food/Biotechnology/default.htm The bar on the left states “submissions.”

    Further, if you are an organization that has assessed foods with GE ingredients –particularly considered under FDA policy “additives” please put them directly through the FDA website and additional websites to confirm your submissions are listed elsewhere for backup.

    Note the consultations procedures under the FDA: www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/GuidanceDocuments/Biotechnology/ucm096126.htm

    If you are aware of GE contaminants or adulteration to food, alert the FDA www.fda.gov/food/foodsafety/foodcontaminantsadulteration/default.htm
    Green Peace claims to have the first contamination registry in the world. It should be utilized as well: www.gmcontaminationregister.org/

  33. JS JS October 13, 2014 at 11:25 - Reply

    ags.hawaii.gov/campaign/ Campaign Spending commission
    WHO RECEIVED CAMPAIGN MONEY FROM BIOTECH COMPANIES? MONSANTO, DUPONT, DOW, SYNGENTA, BAYER and BASF…. Large Biotech companies experimenting with GMO crops and seeds in Hawaii.
    • David Ige, running for Governor, $1250
    • City Councilman J. Ikaika Anderson, over $17,000
    • Mayor Kirk Caldwell, over $19,000
    • Sen. Josh Green (D-3), $16,892
    • Sen. Rosalyn Baker (D-6), over $18,000
    • Rep. Kyle Yamashita (D-12), over $17,000
    • Sen. Clarence Nishihara (D-17), $16,893; Opposes GMO labeling
    • Rep. Mark Hashem (D-18) $1250
    • Sen. Sen. Michelle Kidani (D-18), over $15,000.
    • Sen. Clayton Hee (D-23), $20,850
    • sponsored bills to protect Biotech companies SB 3058 —
    • Sen. Jill Tokuda (D-24) over $1500
    • Christopher Lee (D-51) $ .00
    • Joey Manahan (D-7) $2000

    Transparency! “People Have the Right to Know What They Eat” Label Food.

    • Tulsi Gabbard (D-2) $.00 Supports Labeling Food
    • Rep. Mike Gabbard (D-20) $.00 Supports Labeling Food
    • Brian Schatz running for senate $.00 Supports Labeling Food

    • INDEPENDENT Mufi Hannemann, received over $60,000 REPUBLICANS
    Duke Aiona running for Governor $.00 Supports Labeling Food
    Eldean Kukahiko (D-48) $.00 Wayne Hikida (D-51) $.00 Kimberly Pine (D-1) $3000
    *This is a partial list.* www.gmoevidence.com/

  34. Corine M October 19, 2015 at 21:44 - Reply

    I am appalled that one corporation can put so many small farmers out of business, destroy their livelihoods and ruin families causing mass suicides in India, Hawaii and South America. It is criminal. Monsatan is the right moniker. The makers of agent orange, DDT, etc. should be tried and found guilty of multiple crimes of murder and attempted murder by selling and force selling GMO seeds and Round Up. Greed knows no bounds.

  35. Corine M October 19, 2015 at 22:07 - Reply

    I am appalled that one corporation can put so many small farmers out of business, destroy their livelihoods and ruin their families causing mass suicides in India, Hawaii and South America. It is criminal. Monsatan is the right moniker. The makers of agent orange, DDT, etc. should be tried and found guilty of multiple crimes of murder and attempted murder by selling and force selling GMO seeds and Round Up. Greed knows no bounds.

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