The Lack of Science Behind Hawaii Island GMO Bill 113

We all want healthy, safe, nutritious, and affordable food to feed our families. Working together, we can make headway toward this common goal of obtaining food security for our Islands.

Hawaii County Bill 113 divides us rather than unites us, because it proposes to ban all new genetically engineered (GE) crops on the Big Island. It is not based on scientific evidence, despite Dr. Hector Valenzuela’s claims that were published recently in Honolulu Civil Beat.

Bill 113 would lump all genetically engineered crops together, whether they were experimental crops or ones approved and deregulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency, three federal agencies that regulate GE crops. There is scientific consensus by the National Research Council of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences (2004) that GE crops must be assessed on a case-by-case basis, depending on the crop species and the trait involved. In a recent commentary published in the Star Advertiser, Dr. Maria Gallo, Dean of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, repeated this point – that not all genetically modified foods are the same and a blanket ban on them would be misguided.

Plants are basically chemical factories. They don’t have legs to run away from grazing animals or other pests. As a result, they use their chemical factories to protect themselves. Many insecticides are derived from plant compounds. Cyanide is produced by many plant species to protect against grazing animals or insects.

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