The state Senate committees on Health and Agriculture will take testimony Thursday on a bill calling for the labeling of food with genetically modified organisms.

“The people of Hawaii have a right to know what’s in the food they eat,” said Health Committee Chairman Josh Green in a statement. “If the people want to know if there are GMOs in their food, then the Legislature should follow their will and pass a simple and effective labeling system.”

Senate Bill 131 would establish labeling requirements for any food or raw agricultural commodity sold in Hawaii that “contains, or was produced with, a genetically engineered material,” according to Green’s office.

Sen. Josh Green in hearing concerning home birthing regulations.  2.10.14 ©PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Senate Health Committee Chairman Josh Green

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

The proposed legislation calls for some exceptions, establishes violations and requires the Department of Health to adopt rules.

SB 131 was introduced by Maui Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran and is co-sponsored by Big Island Sen. Russell Ruderman and Oahu Sen. Gil Riviere — the chair and vice chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture.

Senate Majority Leader Kalani English also backs the bill, suggesting that SB 131 has influential support.

“It’s time for the Legislature to do the right thing,” said Green, a medical doctor in Kailua-Kona, “and listen to the will of the people on this issue.”

One thing is near-certain: Pro-GMO and anti-GMO groups will turn out in force to share their passionate thoughts about GMO labeling.

About the Author