A Hawaii County judge has ruled that farmers must comply with a new ordinance requiring them to register with the county if they grow genetically engineered papaya, but said the county can’t release farmers’ names or locations to the public.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Wednesday that Hilo Circuit Court Judge Greg Nakamura granted a preliminary injunction allowing registration requirements to go into effect in 30 days.

Papaya tree

A papaya tree on the Big Island.

Sophie Cocke/Civil Beat

Big Island papaya grower Ross Sibucao and a second anonymous plaintiff sued the county after the it approved a bill last year banning all new genetically engineered crops and requiring existing farmers who grow genetically engineered crops to register with the county.

The plaintiffs said they’re worried the law will make them vulnerable to vandalism.

According to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, the court ruling said there should be comprehensive legislation on the topic and said there is a limited risk of cross-pollination between genetically engineered and conventional crops.

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