Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Musings: Bottom Line

The dogs and I went out walking this morning to find the mountains clear and a breathtaking sky all streaked with orange-red in the east and above that, a pale blue sphere edged on the bottom with the thinnest sliver of gold.

Yes, we're headed toward a new moon tomorrow, another fresh start, and in a similar fashion, the County Council is taking up measures that will be considered by the state Legislature when it reconvenes for a new session in January.

Among them are a resolution calling for a ban on aquarium fish collecting in the state, which the Hawaii County Council approved last month and our Council endorsed last week. And today the Intergovernmental Relations Committee again takes up a resolution proposed by Maui County that would require all genetically engineered foods to be labeled.

It's an issue that's been hotly debated around the world, so it's not surprising that it's generating controversy here, as well as some of the usual bogus arguments spouted by the GMO companies. One of my favorites is that those who produce foods without GMOs are free to label their products as such. Um, yeah, great, except remember how Monsanto, which created the disgusting bovine growth hormone, Prosilac, sued a Maine dairy to prevent it from doing precisely that?

Then there was the perennial claim that requiring such labeling would be burdensome and expensive. I'm sure the same argument was made when food manufacturers had to start disclosing the presence of additives and preservatives, as well as nutritional information. But hasn't that been a good thing?

What it really comes down to is the GMO/chemical companies, like Monsanto, Dow and the rest, are opposed to labeling because they know some consumers won't buy products containing genetically engineered ingredients. If consumers won't buy them, the food industry won't purchase GE crops, which means the farmers won't grow them. And then the chemical companies won't be able to sell their GE seeds and accompanying herbicides and continue to monopolize the world's food supply.

Awww, poor tings dem!

Bottom line: consumers have a right to know what they're eating so they can make a choice.

If the chemical companies think their products are so safe and so great, they should be proud to have that fact disclosed to consumers, instead of fighting labeling tooth and nail.

But even if the Kauai Council joins Maui in passing the resolution, there's still a big battle ahead at the Lege, where the chem companies have a substantial lobbying force and wield a lot of clout, which is why it's been so difficult to get any kind of controls on the GMO seed industry here.

Still, the “neighbor island” counties can have an impact, which is how proposals to protect coffee and taro from genetic engineering have prevailed.


Anonymous said...

Monsanto is hurting a bit from the down sales in Round Up. Their patent ran out and now the Chinese are selling a cheaper version. To compete, Monasanto is cutting their prices by half.

But......they are still making 100's of billions of dollars and can afford to put "frickin" labels on their polluted GM food products....which most likely contain glyphosate too.

The county has no clue about labeling. Do we have a bunch of yoyo's or doh dohs running things on the island? Or are they just playing dumb...each scrambling for next election money from Pioneer and Monsanto....?

Dr. Shibai

Anonymous said...

mahalo joan, heading to the council meeting soon. sad that it's all for show and the state will fumble the punt by the county. can we expect the federal government to step and make the play?
i just hope they pass it and the state can pressure the feds to do the right thing. sorry for the football analogy but the bowl season is starting soon and.....

Anonymous said...

....and i like my chips GMO FREE!

Anonymous said...

the vote went unanimous w/ nadine suggesting that the state is not prepared or capable to regulate the industry for labeling purposes. she's right. our state gov can be pathetic at times; will see where this leads to. still a victory of sorts; but no dancing in the streets.

irk said...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

How would the state regulate foods packaged on the mainland or in a foreign country? Would you suggest banning all foods that are not labeled from being sold in Hawaii? Ain't happening.

Anonymous said...

I agree that this debate is about choice. No one is trying to shut down the GMO companies in this debate - just mandate a three-letter disclosure.
Consumers should have the choice.
Its like when Safeway just got sued for not disclosing that its "fresh" ahi was treated with carbon monoxide to make it red. Just like the GMO companies, Safeway was in court saying "but we don't need to disclose since its harmless".
I really think that the free market should decide - and that requires disclosure. And yes, the non-GMO producers SHOULD start labeling the hell out their packaging. Probably should get a recognizable "Non-GMO" certification label going self defense.