Taste Hawaii – Just Label It

In recent months grassroots campaigns have picked up steam around the country to push legislators to pass laws prohibiting the sale and distribution of genetically-engineered food unless it is labeled as a genetically-engineered food product.

A petition has been filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requesting the labeling of genetically-engineered food.

A recent poll by the University of Hawaii shows that 72% of Hawaii residents want genetically-engineered fruits labeled.

Several bills have been introduced by Hawaii legislators that seek to provide regulations that protect the general public from un-labeled genetically-engineered food.

Senate Bill 2279 was introduced on January 20, 2012, by Hawaii State Senator Gerald Gabbard.  This bill pertains to the distribution, sale, fine and imprisonment of growers, distributors, packagers and wholesalers of Hawaii-grown, or imported, genetically-engineered foods that don’t “conspicuously” display the words “GENETICALLY ENGINEERED” on labels.

This bill would provide informed choice for consumers purchasing food for human consumption.

Backers of Senate Bill 2279 state that the bill will preserve Hawaii’s reputation “for producing high-quality food” in a “pure and preserved natural environment.”

Hawaii Senate Bill 2279 has been declined a hearing by the Hawaii Senate Committee on Agriculture, chaired by Hawaii Senator Clarence Nishihara.  This action shelves the bill for the 2012 legislative session.  There might be an opportunity for this bill to be re-introduced for the 2013 legislative session.

Hawaii State Senator Gerald Gabbard – contact information: (808) 586-6830.

Hawaii Senator Clarence Nishihara – contact information: (808) 586-6970.