A new bill at the state legislature wants to label all food that is genetically modified.
But farmers came down on both sides of the issue, not only on the safety of the GMO products, but also the cost.
House Bill 174 wants any food product that is produced or sold in Hawaii to have a label saying it contains or was made using genetically engineered material or GMO.
Supporters of the bill testified before a state committee on agriculture Monday morning, and many just wanted to be better educated when it comes to picking food.
“And its not pono and I just hope you guys just give us the right. Nine out of 10 people that know about it say they just want to label it. We are not asking for much, we just want to know what we are eating,” bill supporter Aubrie Allen said.
But farmers warn that the bill puts too much burden on them because it asks that any food raised with GMO fertilizer or other GMO products must be labeled. That could be up to 80 percent of the food in the market.
“If you label the other 20 percent of foods GMO-free, then that’s a cost that is born. And if they have to regulate it, it’s not going to be such a burden to the rest of the 80 percent of food. Economically, it just makes more sense, ” said Alicia Maluafiti, Hawaii Crop Improvement Association.
Farmers say the cost to label the products will be passed on to the consumer.
But other farmers feel the added cost will be worth it, especially if it will give the public the choice to to purchase GMO-free products.
The public will have at least two more chances to provide testimony as the bill now goes to the financial and consumer protection committee.