Conflicts of Interest Confound the Negative Views of Hawaii GMO Bills
Over the past year in Hawaii, County Council bills were drafted in response to community concerns about the planting of experimental genetically modified (GM) crops and their inherent pesticide use around the islands. In response, the agrochemical industry brought a number of 'hired guns' from out-of-state to paint a rosier picture of the GMO Industry. Local academics also joined the bandwagon claiming a consensus about the safety of pesticides and GM crops on the islands.
In most cases the "hired guns" and the UH professors portrayed their positions as independent scientists. Thus, to the casual observer these "GMO experts" were providing an impartial perspective about the safety of GMOs. For instance at a recent "GMO Summit" held on the Kohala Coast, the three out-of state speakers claimed impartiality. By the end of the day however, the speakers admitted that their engagements had indeed been sponsored by the agrochemical industry.
Similarly, all of the Hawaii-based researchers that eagerly defend the safety of GM crops, have potential undisclosed conflicts of interest.