When I opened up the local section of the paper this past Sunday, a small headline in the local section caught my eye. The gubernatorial candidate, David Ige, decided to consider GMO labeling at the state level. For a candidate who is saying he wants to make Hawaii a better place, this is really a kick in the face. Once again, this is just proof that politicians do not do their homework when it comes down to the unintended consequences of stances such as these.
Is it really the “right to know” or something else?
The article proceeds to explain that he now believes in the disingenuous “right to know” campaign. He apparently has not looked in the sources behind the scenes of who is saying what. These organic industry people make this claim but then behind the scenes say this about biotechnology.
An industry is the backers behind the so called “right to know”
I suspect that Mr. Ige and other candidates don’t have much knowledge into this industry either when they simply fall for this line. The National Organic Program was founded by an Act of Congress in 2000 to help sell products at a premium. This program is not about nutrition or food safety or food affordability. It also falls under the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service and not under any health or environmental programs. This is really an industry asking for a label and not a right to know. Basically, if you follow the rules stated, you can obtain certification to help sell your products at higher prices. It is not about being pesticide free either as there is a list of chemicals approved for usage in production that is synthetic in many cases. The industry tries to market it as being pesticide free and more healthful for you but the reality is that there is little evidence to support it.
This is about the organic industry demanding that farmers label their product and not about a right to know. Who’s funding the whole movement? It’s organic activists from the Center for Food Safety to quacks like Jeffrey M. Smith and his movies that scare people from this technology. It’s a big industry going after the small farmers that grow biotech here from Belmes Farms to my dad’s farms in an attempt to get the big ag companies.
Hawaii can be the center for research on biotechnology… If we let it…
Most people that I talk to don’t read much for the science and agriculture world. Many are completely unaware of the issues that are affecting the growing of crops in our state and beyond. From a devastating banana fungus decimating crops in Central America and drought hitting parts of Africa where they can’t grow things, or a deadly disease leaving cassava crops inedible and toxic, the world’s food security is at risk with climate change. We are so well fed and nourished that this tough never crosses our minds. It’s a real threat to others as billions of people go to bed hungry every night. If Hawaii has the capability to alleviate some of the world’s suffering, why block it with fear and misinformation of a very powerful tool?
The fights going on in the labeling arena tells the rest of the world that there is something wrong with this product that it needs to be segregated. Think about what a label can do.
Follow the stories of groundbreaking research with the glowing pigs and glowing rabbits here at the University of Hawaii. The commentary under much of these stories on the news is disheartening at best. People are afraid of this technology that can have a huge impact on people’s quality of lives. To jump on the labeling issue on fuels more of the ignorance of this technology that should be embraced and not feared the way it is now. Do we want leaders to lead us into darkness or to knowledge?
Supporting the farmers we have now!
I heard an interesting statistic the other day that really opened my eyes. Back in the 1850’s, there were 23 million people living in the US with 74% of the population involved in agriculture. Fast forward ahead to 2012 and we have 313 million people with only 1.5% involved in farming now. That 1.5% has got to be ultra efficient in delivering food to the masses which is indeed happened. No longer are the majority of us having to grow our own food. We have become freer to do other things with our lives which is a great thing! The technology has changed tremendously and farmers can choose the tools they want to achieve this goal. It makes me mad when a politician, another disconnected person from agriculture, can sit up on his pulpit and point fingers as to what a farmer needs to do. Does the politician ever ask a farmer how his decision will affect him? It seems like never and that is the wrong path to take.
Does anti-biotech, pro-labeling politicians ever faced the misinformation campaigns that this 1.5%? Never. Meanwhile, this is what papaya farmers get to face.
If you truly want local food grown by local farmers, I think it best that you stay away from people who are attempting to attempting to smear them with fear and misinformation. The evidence clearly shows that biotech foods are safe and many world science organizations have also taken that same stance. Spending time satisfying the desires of the activists isn’t going to be helping Hawaii reach our goals for food security and sustainability. They will only keep going after more issues with agriculture to make it even harder to farm.
Most of all, a real leader will never stand to support the people who do and say this about my dad and others in agriculture.
There is also a lot of mainland money coming in to fuel this fight. One at the top of the list is the Center for Food Safety. Here’s what the new director is saying about where she stands on the issues. (Warning for bad language from this Pacific Business News recent 40 Under 40 recipient.)
So those same people who are demanding that right to know are saying this publicly about our farmers and this doesn’t sit well with me. If it really is the right to know, why are they all apart of these GMO Free groups across of our islands? GMO free and wanting a label and disclosure is so insincere and they know it.
Fighting for the rubbah slippah folks!
Not sure if you saw the recent Forbes post that Hawaii is the worst place to make a living. I am starting to feel that it is true. Everything from milk to gasoline is going up but our paychecks aren’t matching these increases. Trying to burden people with GMO labeling to support activists’ demands isn’t going to make things any better for affordability. This labeling indeed comes with a cost that will definitely make food less affordable for us that you can’t even imagine, which is why trying to do this at the Federal level if indicated, is a better option. Either way, there will be an increase in costs that will hurt everyone, especially those on limited incomes.
A real leader of the people will do things to help all in society, not just a few to burden the majority. What does the data say? Is this something really necessary? Who will be impacted the most by this? Instead of talking about your stances, ask questions first. Too many times politicians are talking heads with poor insight on the unintended consequences of their decisions.
Well, I’ve got to be somewhat forgiving as people like Mr. Ige and bandwagon jumpers like Representative Kaniela Ing aren’t farmers or even bother to know them. They work in clean air conditioned offices and are completely disconnected from the work of people like my dad and brother. They don’t understand at all what it really takes to get food to a table and the work involved. I’ll just leave a reminder here of who they are attacking when they align with activists demands… It’s my family and other families that do the same work as us!