Seed Trade Association, Ag Retailers Concerned About GMO Labeling Bill

Groups call for immediate action on pending Hawaii legislation

Published on: Mar 20, 2013

The American Seed Trade Association and the Agricultural Retailers Association Wednesday issued an immediate call to action to block a bill calling for labeling of  imported GMO produce to Hawaii.

The text of the bill adds to existing law that:

"The sale, offering for sale, or distribution of any imported genetically engineered produce intended for human consumption within the State is prohibited unless the fact of genetic engineering is disclosed clearly and conspicuously with a label bearing the words "genetically engineered" directly on the produce offered for retail sale, on the label of the produce's packaging, or, in the case of any such produce that is not separately packaged or labeled, on a clear and conspicuous label appearing on the retail store shelf or bin in which the produce is displayed for sale."

Groups call for immediate action on pending Hawaii legislation
Groups call for immediate action on pending Hawaii legislation

Additionally, the bill says suppliers will be responsible for labeling the imported produce and the container used for the packaging, holding or transporting of the product.

The labeling bill does not apply to produce grown in Hawaii, produce grown without the knowing and intentional use of GM seed or organisms or produce prepared in restaurants or other establishments.

The bill is scheduled for vote at 9 a.m. HST (2 p.m. CST) Thursday. Though it was originally not on the docket, Hawaiian news outlets report that a swell of anti-GMO bill supporters increased pressure to act on the bill. The Hawaiian Attorney General also challenged the bill as being unconstitutional.

The bill was first introduced Jan.18 by Hawaiian state Reps. Carroll, Lowen, Mizuno, Evans and Souki.

HB 174 is at the top of the list for GMO labeling supporters in Hawaii, just one of at least five other bills focused on labeling foods introduced this year in Hawaii.

To weigh in on the bill, click here and enter HB174. Comments will not be accepted after 2 p.m. CST Wednesday.