HONOLULU - The rainbow papaya
is pumped-up to be more powerful, genetically modified to resist
the destructive ringspot virus.
It's a stronger fruit, but it looks the same as an organic
Some said that is the problem.
"I just think it makes sense that people have a choice
in what they buy," said Shelly Wilkinson, a concerned Big
Island resident. "Whether we are buying produce that has
been grown conventionally, whether it's been genetically engineered
or whether it's organic."
A group of concerned residents collected 4,000 signatures from
Hawaii residents who want genetically modified foods to be labeled.
It's required in other countries, like Japan and Australia,
but not in the United States. Some DNA altered foods have shown
to cause allergies in humans.
"I don’t know enough about the things they are putting
in the food, so I just want to know which foods have them so
I can have the choice whether to look into it and still choose
to get them, or totally choose that it's not what I want for
my family or myself," said Penelope Perez, of Hawaii Citizens
for Food Choice.
Sen. Mike Gabbard is pushing the labeling bill, and also another
one to help organic farmers like Curtis Faltstrom know who his
"We don't know where all the plots are," said Faltstrom,
who has a small farm in Kahaluu. "It could be right next
to me and I wouldn't know."
SB 3233 would require bio-tech companies to report to the Department
of Agriculture where their genetically modified crops are being
grown. The locations would be posted online.
"If you have pollen drift from your neighbors it can get
into your organic produce and make it non-organic," Faltstrom
said. "You cannot have organically grown, and contain GMO."
There have been no hearings scheduled yet for those two bills.
They must be heard by the Agriculture and Environment Committees
by Thursday in order to state alive in the Senate.