In what is perhaps its most craven move to date, the Hawaii Center for Food Safety is fanning the fears of those who care for sick children.
Yesterday, the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Honolulu hosted a misnamed “Lunch and Learn Presentation” with Hawaii-CFS director Ashley Lukens. According to a notice sent to staff and others:
Summary: Come and hear about the key findings of a 2015 review regarding pesticide use, genetically engineered field test sites and public health risks. The full 44-page version of the report is available upon request from the Education Office.
Odd, how Shriners has all those doctors on staff, yet they allow a partisan political scientist from an anti-GMO group to educate folks about pesticides — using cherry-picked data that has repeatedly been criticized in public meetings as inaccurate and/or misleading.
Indeed, the education director at Shriners said doctors approved of Lukens speaking because their patients want more information on the pesticide issue.
Yet they then claim on their website:
...there is no better place to learn than Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Uh, sure, if you're not picky about whether what you learn is accurate.
As for Ashley, can she really sink any lower than exploiting the fears and worries of parents and staff caring for desperately ill children?
Yeah, probably. These demagogues will stop at nothing.
Meanwhile, Hawaii-CFS sent out an email yesterday claiming it had “pressured one Hawaii legislator to release the records of her correspondence with pesticide-seed companies and groups representing their interests!”
It goes on to state:
With access to these records, we can better assess the influence of the agrichemical industry on policymaking, demand reform, and protect our allies in office from this pressure.
So without even reviewing the records it just got, or seeing the correspondence it's requested from four other Hawaii lawmakers, CFS is already convinced that undue pressure is occurring, reform is needed and its allies need protection.
Ironically, CFS exults in the success of its own pressure tactics, which are somehow OK because it's doing it. CFS, which refuses to disclose who is funding its own Hawaii lobbying efforts, then has the chutzpah to claim:
We need to remain vigilant in our demands for a fair civic process.
Yes, we do. And that includes demanding transparency from political advocacy groups like CFS and Gary Hooser's HAPA, which masquerade as nonprofits.
Meanwhile, Reuters reports that sugar beet growers, who have overwhelming adopted genetically engineered varieties that have higher yields and require less herbicides, are losing market share. It seems food manufacturers are starting to shun GMO sugar beets in favor of the cane sugar.
The Reuters article goes on to say:
Critics believe GMO crops contribute to the industrialization of farming.
Yet over on Maui, folks are trying to shut down Hawaii's last sugar plantation, deriding it as “industrial agriculture” and claiming that cane smoke causes health problems. They're supported by anti-GMO activists who say they're opposed to pesticide use, yet reject GMO products that actually use less pesticides.
It's becoming increasingly clear that the food fear movement isn't very well thought out — except by groups like CFS, which profit mightily from it.