SHAKA Movement’s Maximal Misinformational Minute and More

Just when you thought that the misinformation campaign couldn’t get any better, it got pretty good again.  Not only have they bombarded the social media to indoctrinate their followers to their mantras but they have got it all compacted in a whole minute!  Just listen here or read it below.

“Aloha, this is Uncle Mac.  My ohana has been farming Maui for over 51 generations and now we have to get with the times.  Dats why we like us da GMOs.  It’s easy.  All you gotta do is get one license from da chemical companies dat rent da seeds cuz you no can own or save em for next year.  Den you sign one contract dat you not going tell no one nuthing.  Den you gotta study technical stuff like coexistence, den you almost ready for plant, but first you got to buy one space man suit to protect yourself cuz you gotta spray the chemical to kill everything and grow the GMO.  Den they have to inspect dat you did em right so you no get in trouble. If dis is da way you farm, den you no like the GMO bill. If you farm old skool like everybody else, den the GMO bill absolutely no problem for you.  It’s dat simple.”

The funniest thing about the whole Shaka Movement is that even some of their followers can’t even quite explain the law that they are proposing itself and don’t even know the content of it.

Not only do these people not like being questioned for their movement, but some will even try to show you a baseball bat for questioning them.

Not only do these people have so much aloha, but they will even beautify public property in the name of being allegedly poisoned.  Forget the fact that they exposed themselves to synthetic chemicals and aerosols and some solvents that are known carcinogens.  They likely did this without a space suit too!

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Oh, yes, and these malama the aina pono preachers (aka “I love the land and do what’s right but don’t quite know right from wrong) has no boundaries when it comes to private property either.  They come with the mentality that what’s yours is mine apparently.

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gmovandalism

It’s funny that these same folks have all kinds of weird spellings and conspiracy theories about the whole biotech issue and when you point out the obvious, they are the first one to call you ignorant.  Sure, your internet knowledge and Google searches have made you a whole lot smarter than any farmer.  In this aspect, I make like an anti-GMO activist and don’t read the flood of “intelligent and thought provoking” comments.  It gives me inspiration.  NOT.

Screenshot 2014-10-08 19.22.07 Screenshot 2014-10-08 19.22.26 Screenshot 2014-10-08 19.23.22 Screenshot 2014-10-08 19.24.42

Well, I can’t enlighten everyone about the wonders of biotechnology unfortunately.  Especially if people would rather socialize, I mean protest, something they clearly don’t understand but think they do.  So yes, keep sending those comments, and denying the facts and evidence.  Facts and evidence don’t need mantras and emotional terms of people and the aina dying or being killed because it just doesn’t stand beyond a reasonable doubt.

And please, don’t send me any comments about how you’re now going to save the turtles, protest the Mauna Kea telescope, surf by a Superferry, and hijack the North Shore Neighborhood board meeting with an anti-farmer crowd.  I would love to hear how you’re going to participate in a civil discussion about how agriculture will move forward first and foremost sans any mention of Monsanto.

Succumbing to Fear: The Mexican Limbless Baby Born Near GMO Crops

There’s only a few weeks more until the vote in Maui County to place a “moratorium” on the biotech crops.  So it shouldn’t be surprising that the activists are going strong with the fear mongering.  Here’s the latest scare image that passing around again to spook parents to buy into the ideology.

mexico GMO

Yes, it is indeed scary and refers to a mother in Mexico who lived by GMO corn crops.  Note that Mexico has NO crops approved for commercial cultivation to begin with!  And of course on the meme, there’s no source of where this photo comes from and any other details about it.  It just is terrifying for the unsuspecting person!

However, when you do a bit of searching on this image you’ll see a completely different story of the source.  The actual source of the image comes from a well-known anti-GMO website.  The story is completely different from the one being told by the poster.  It has NOTHING to do with GMO corn fields!

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Note that they defects that the baby pictured has is called tetra amelia syndrome is genetic in nature.  There is nothing to show that it has anything to do with pesticides and is extremely rare.  With GMO crops being grown globally and for the majority of farms in the US, shouldn’t this be more common.  It’s not.  It’s clear that this is fear mongering at best when you did further for the truth!

Here’s a corrected meme that should be passed around the social media so that more people don’t get freaked out by the outright lies that these activists have no problem spreading around.

tetraamelia2

SHAKA Movement Demands Transparency of Others But Fails Miserably Themselves

I happened to get a sponsored ad on my Facebook newsfeed today from this newly formed page, “Vote Yes, on the Maui GMO Moratorium.” After reading a post from fellow blogger, Iowa Meets Maui, on the irony of this group’s messaging who says such a law is temporary and then prints out messages of eviction, I had to put a comment on that page.  Here’s a copy of the conversation that follows.

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These groups are demanding transparency but can’t even practice what they preach themselves.  Apparently to the SHAKA Movement, they can be very honest at times when they state that the truth is “meaningless.”

So will you vote for a group that seeks for transparency and can’t do as they ask and find the truth to be meaningless?  I sure hope not.

Fear: The Deconstruction of Local Culture

Fear: The Deconstruction of Local Culture

The Maui County Moratorium is now the forefront of the anti-GMO movement once again and I’m seeing the typical pattern of comments from the anti-GMO activists being spewed all over the internet again.  Here’s some of the latest ones being posted from a recent Civil Beat article.

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Why is fear filled statements so prevalent in the conversations lately?  Why are so many people feeling as if they are being sprayed or poisoned but continue to stay within the area despite the so called danger?  They know the truth but are willing to bend the truth to their advantage in the name of hobby activism and it’s bad news.

I’ve decided to look further about why fear is so prevalent in the conversations in Hawaii to get a better understanding of why it has taken root here.

The Anatomy of Fear

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This is the definition of fear from Wikipedia.  Note the keyword here is “belief.”  Fear is the the belief that someone or something is dangerous or bad for you.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that it indeed is bad but one is believing that it is.

A good example of this is my grandmother’s fear of worms.  As a young girl, she was always afraid of it and it remained a part of her belief system well into her old age.  She had neither been harmed by them and nor could they really harm her but it was an entrenched belief that she had.  Even if the worm was made of Play Doh and fake, it still sent shivers down her spine and sent her screaming.  So why do people persistently maintain fears like this even if it is completely unfounded?

From the website HowStuffWorks, fear is really our brain’s chain reaction of events also known as the fight or flight response.  The article goes into full detail on how fear is created in our minds.  It is really an unconscious series of events that occur in our brains.  One is the low road which is the “quick and messy” response and the other is the high road where more time is taken with a more calculated precise response of the interpretation.

Translating this into the current issue at hand, we can see that fear is clearly being used by the activists here.  Lots of internet posts are being touted and the immediate response is to be afraid of the this technology after reading an article or seeing a scary memes on Facebook.

From the Center for Food Safety website.  Clearly fear peddlers and not supporters of farmers at all.

From the Center for Food Safety website of a well suited lawyer in a gas mask.  Scary imagery indeed.

More gas mask imagery from the Kauai Bill 2491 fiasco.

More gas mask imagery from the Kauai Bill 2491 fiasco.

Homemade gas masks from the Babes Against Biotech page.

Homemade gas masks from the Babes Against Biotech page.

People are being made afraid at every single encounter they are hit with, whether it be the media or at a march, fear is the predominant theme of the anti-GMO movement.  Their immediate reaction is the maintain the low road of avoid it at all costs because it is believed to be dangerous and harmful.  Note that they “believe” that it is a danger and when reinforced over and over by politicians like Gary Hooser and his tirades, it becomes a reality to many of them.  When the majority of people lack a good understanding of the history of agriculture and have a little to know science knowledge, this makes for a large population to be susceptible to this kind of tactic.

Two years ago, the target issue was that GMOs were dangerous.  When study after study got debunked, the activists had a hard time using that argument and it shifted to GMOs are pesticides are dangerous.  Ashley Lukens of the Hawaii Center for Food Safety was quoted in a recent Civil Beat article stating, “In Hawaii, the issue of genetic engineering is an issue about pesticides.”  So does Ms. Lukens think that it means something else is other parts of the world when they are also engineering plants to fight bugs for the same reason?  Of course, she’s a PhD in political science trying to tell the agricultural community how to farm and what to use.  (It’s no different than the carpenter telling a nurse what to do in a bigger sense.)

When fear has become deeply entrenched the into the brains of many of the activists, it’s no longer about reason and logic.  It’s about protecting themselves from this perceived harm.  Presenting any type of evidence such as water tests, residue tests, and other data will not change the primitive neurological paths of fear developed in their minds.  The Department of Health can do a million of tests and still not find any data to support their beliefs, but they will continue to believe in this danger.  It’s ingrained into their minds already and no logic or reasonable discussion can change that, ever.  Fear has been an effective emotion that binds so many people together in this “movement.”

Their high road response this created fear is to now become activists and fight it within their GMO free groups and rallies.  This is the calculated, supposedly well thought of response to combatting this belief that they are being harmed.  These activists will easily use conspiracy theories, chemtrail beliefs, a misunderstanding of medical conditions and illnesses, and bumble up correlation and causation to justify their actions.  When put to the test in the court of law however, there must be proof beyond a reasonable doubt presented in order to support the reasoning, which the activists’ facts will falter when scrutinized.  Fear also turns people into ugly emotional people, who are unable to see the consequences of their actions as there are made to feel as if there is not other choice in the matter.  You can’t reason or bring these people out of the swimming pool of fear that they are stuck in.

 

Decontructioning Fear To Save Our Communities

I’ve been in a many discussions online with others and have seen a clear pattern among the anti-GMO activists.  When presenting factual information and questioning their links, if they are not able to refute it, one will get blocked and banned by them.  I’ve been banned from the Babes Against Biotech page for pointing out that organic pesticides can be dangerous to bees, and from the Hawaii GMO Justice Coalition page for asking the death threats to stop.  I was even blocked and banned by a politician wannabe, Kent Fonoimoana, for pointing out how environmentalist groups are trying to block farmers from farming.  Challenging an anti-GMO activist to look further about the issue gets most people instant, “I don’t want to talk to you anymore.”  It shows how unreasonable they are about discussions and dialogue which is not what we need in Hawaii.  I’ve never posted anything heinous or threatened anything, and just simply questioned their logic and reasoning for their stances and bam, I get blocked or called a bully.  Forget the fact that I get nasty emails or comments on this blog which I refuse to allow.  It’s clear that people who align with this “movement” are not about discussions or are ready to be questioned on some of their stances.  They want one thing alone and that is all their seeking.

These outside activists have even gone as far as trying to infiltrate our agricultural communities by bringing in their fellow Filipinos to try and split them apart.  Here’s a flier that was posted around the internet to demonstrate this.

CFSfilipinoflyer

Note the funding on the flyer indicates that it’s all mainland funded groups like the Ceres Trust, PANNA, PANAP, and the Hawaii Center for Food Safety, who provide more outside non-profit money to the local sounding, Hawaii SEED.  Their goal? Tear communities apart and take apart agriculture in Hawaii!

The same motives apply to the SHAKA movement, who disingenuously claims they want safety studies before the agribusinesses can farm.  Why do so many of these members also belong to GMO free groups?!  Their true intent is clear when you research it further and it is unacceptable to me to use fear, false intentions, and misinformation to tear apart our Hawaii communities.  None of these groups are about living together as they don’t care and nor do the funders of these people care because they are living off in Washington, D.C. and the San Francisco having a ball seeing our communities being torn apart. That may be the mainland way, but it sure isn’t the Hawaii way.

What’s even more disturbing about the SHAKA movement is how many of these people said that they will replace the lost jobs with “organic, sustainable farm jobs.” When it’s pointed out that organic farming only provides 1% of Hawaii’s food, the response changes so quickly.  The activists cover themselves up with, well, these people can go on welfare, which is an acceptable solution for our communities to them.  People with real jobs and families do not want to live on welfare and why is an outside person dictating that to our local folks?!

Maui County Council member, Stacey Crivello, pointed out a sad fact in a recent news article on Maui News of what happens when activism succeeds in our islands.  When Walter Ritte’s antics managed to get Molokai Ranch closed, hundreds of people lost their jobs and their homes to foreclosure.  Others came in and bought up these homes at foreclosure prices and the original owners became tenants in their own homes.  That definitely is the breaking of the human spirit that Stacy Crivello mentioned in her commentary.  People dream of one day owning a home that comes through handwork and dedication and it will all be lost when a bad law is passed.

The anti-GMO movement in Hawaii has become one of manipulation of people’s fear and repetitive misinformation campaigns to tear apart “the companies.”  However, upon deeper inspection, it’s not tearing their intended target apart, the reality is that it’s tearing our families and communities apart.  It’s not about facts, logic, or reasoning either.  We are slowly eroding at the very essence of Hawaii that brought us together to begin with, bit by bit, piece by piece.

I see it the issue like a haku lei that has so many distinct component in it that put all together make it beautiful.  If we keep picking it apart and try to put only one item in it, is it going to be as beautiful and diverse as when it was first put together?  No.  We need all parts of the lei, from the big dendrobium, to the ti leaves, ferns, baby breaths, lokelani blossoms, and the very core of raffia that it sits on to be that beautiful lei.  If we remove the core that supports the pieces, we will have nothing left to work with and our lei will just sit in pieces.

That’s exactly what is happening to our Hawaii communities with outside activism attempting to rip out the very base of agriculture in our state.  If we as the public allow this to happen, we will not be able to have a working and functioning system to build upon.  Like the haku lei with no raffia or ti leaf as its binder, the whole lei will be nothing but bit and pieces of flowers and greenery that is now wearable or as beautiful.  That is not a reflection of the diversity of our Hawaii agricultural communities.  Mainland based activism isn’t able to see the very foundation of our heritage of this “local style” and are ready and willing to destroy it in any form and fashion.  I will not standby and let this happen and nor should anyone else.

Fact Check: SHAKA Movement Claims vs. the Evidence

Let’s do some fact finding here with what the mainland based SHAKA Movement claims as the basics of the backing for a moratorium.  This is a response by Dr. Harold Keyser who took apart their claims and put some facts behind it.

A Response to the Findings in

A Bill Placing a Moratorium on the Cultivation of Genetically Engineered Organisms

 

 

Harold H. Keyser, Ph.D.

Soil Microbiologist and Maui County Administrator, Retired

College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii Manoa

 

On February 21st, 2014, the above named bill was filed with the Office of the Maui County Clerk. The justification for the bill is in the Findings section. A review of this section reveals a lack of understanding of agriculture in general, a lack of supporting evidence for claims made, and a disregard for the voluminous findings in mainstream science over the past two decades on the benefits and risks of genetically engineered crops. The Findings section of the bill is copied below along with my inserted responses, links to publications, and additional resources and documents are listed at the end.

 

 

SECTION 2: Findings

 

Cultural Heritage & Environmental Protection

  1. The rapid and unregulated growth of commercial agricultural entities engaged in the cultivation and development of GE Organisms threatens the stability and growth of Maui County’s agricultural economy, the health of its citizens, and its environment. Moreover, the lands of Maui County and the water surrounding it have cultural and spiritual significance to the indigenous people of Hawaii. This cultural and spiritual heritage will suffer irreparable harm if the natural environment of Maui County is contaminated by GE Operations and Practices.

 

Response:  Cultivation and development of GE crops is highly regulated, by USDA APHIS, FDA and EPA. For specifics in Hawaii, see USDA Regulation of Biotechnology Field Tests in Hawaii, USDA APHIS, BRS Factsheet, February 2006. Also see EPA’s web sites on registration, regulation and use of pesticides. The National Academy of Sciences, American Medical Association, World Health Organization, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have repeatedly reviewed and affirmed the safety of GE crops and food.

 

  1. Maui County residents have a right to decide if the risks associated with the GE Operations and Pactices are unacceptable and to take action to suspend such Operations and Practices.

 

Response: Maui County residents have the right to continue to grow GE crops in their gardens, such as papaya, and commercial agricultural operations have the right to continue to farm GE crops in accordance with federal and state regulations.

 

  1. GE Organisms are not part of the natural environment of Maui County and instead exist in the County as a possible invasive species. Protection from the possible threat of damage and/or potentially irreversible alteration of the environment and cultural heritage from the threat of invasive GE Organisms is supported by the Hawaiian Public Turst Doctrine, the Hawaii State Constitution, and other State and County envrionmental laws.

 

Response: The only plants in Maui County that are part of the natural environment are those remaining from before human contact. Certainly, highly bred commercial onions, cabbage, lettuce, papaya, banana, mangoes, and just about all crops we grow, are not. GE crops are then no different in this respect.

 

  1. The genetic engineering of plants and animals often causes unintended consequences. Manipulating genes via genetic engineering and inserting them into organisms is an imprecise process. The resultus are not always predictable or controllable. Mixing plant, animal, bacterial, and viral genes through genetic engineering in combinations that are not selected for in nature may produce results that lead to adverse health or environmental consequences and threaten Maui County’s cultural heritage, Environment and Public Trust Resources.

 

Response: Unintended effects from plant breeding are described in the scientific literature. To date, the documented unintended consequences specifically from genetic engineering include substantial reduction in mycotoxin content in Bt corn, increased lignin in Bt corn, and GE petunias with diminishing color over generations. Any method of breeding can have unintended results, and products from GE breeding are the only ones thoroughly assessed prior to marketing. GE is the most precise plant breeding technique available.

 

Pesticide Concerns

  1. GE Operations and Practices can have serious effects on the environment. For example, in 2013, 93 percent of all soy grown in the U.S. was engineered to be herbicide resistant. In fact, the vast majority of GE crops are designed to withstand herbicides, and therefore promote indiscriminate herbicide use. As a result, GE herbicie-resistant crops have caused 527 million pounds of additional herbicies to be applied to the nation’s farmland. These toxic herbicides damage the vitality and quality of our soil, harm wildlife, contaminate our drinking water, and pose health risks to consumers and farm workers.

 

Response: The USDA Economic Research Service’s comprehensive study on Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 provides the actual data; since peak applications in the mid-1980s, the amount of herbicide applied to all US soybeans is down almost 25% along with a 33% reduction in pounds of active ingredient applied per acre, even with increased acreage. Similarly, they show that herbicide application to all 21 crops is less than the mid-1980’s peak, and they compare the same trend reported by EPA for all pesticides. The associated herbicides (glyphosate and glufinosate) for GE crops are much less toxic than the herbicides they replaced, are used at lower concentrations, have a shorter half-life in soil, and are found in much lower concentrations in water than previous herbicides. See: The Impact of GE Crops on Farm Sustainability in the US, National Research Council, National Academies Press, 2010.

 

  1. Increased use of herbicides in GE Operations and Practices has resulted in the rapid development and proliferation of previously unknown herbicide-tolerant superweeds. The proliferation of these superweeds threatens to overtake the habitat of native flora and fauna in uncltivated lands and forces farmers to use increasingly toxic and expensive herbicides to remove them from cultivated lands.

 

Response: There is nothing new or ‘super’ about herbicide tolerant weeds; they are controlled with either an herbicide with a different mode of action or by tillage. Glyphosate is in sixth place among herbicide groups in terms of the number of resistant biotypes, behind chlorsulfouron, atrizne, dicolfop, 2, 4-D and paraquat. Herbicide resistant weeds are not unique to farming with GE crops, having arisen in the late 1950s, some 40 years before GE crops. Minimizing their occurrence and economic impact is important and a part of good agricultural management. See International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds

 

  1. GE Operations and Practices and associated pesticide use pose a high risk of fostering rapid evolution of pests known as superbugs that become resistant to organic pesticides, to the detriment of conventional and organic farmers who are forced to use increasingly larger volumes and/or stronger pesticides to manage these new pests.

 

Response: The major organic pesticide in common use by GE and organic operations is Bt. To date, the incidence of Bt resistance remains low with emphasis on abundant refuges and multiple-trait Bt crops.

 

  1. In some GE Operations and Practices, multiple Pesticides are applied at the same time or applied in close time proximity to each other (“pesticide cocktails”). This practice is often being used on test crops in a trial and error manner to test and develop new Pesticide resistant Crops. In this process it is possible that new and unknown chemicals are created. Although individual Pesticides have been tested and regulated for their use in isolation, there has not been adequate testing and/or regulations concerning the various chemical combinations that occur during GE Operations and Practices, and few if any of which have been tested in either short term or long term animal or human studies.

 

Response: All modes of agriculture (GE, conventional, organic) across the country use a mixture of pesticides, depending upon a myriad of changing conditions. EPA regulates pesticides including combinations, and routinely makes recommendations on mixing of products. Risks of possible unknown chemicals (theoretical as it is) would not be unique to use of GE compared to non GE crops.

 

Regulatory Issues

  1. Inadequate regulatory oversight at the county, state, and federal levels leave the citizens of Maui County with significnat concerns regarding the immediate safety and long term effects of GE Operations and Practices threatening the integrity of Maui County’s cultural heritage, agricultural economy, tourism economy, and the health of its visitors, citizens, and the environment.

 

Response: This appears to be a superfluous repetition – see response to Finding 1 above.

 

  1. The rapid development and introduction of GE Organisms, combined with inadequate regulatory oversight at the stae and federal levels, have left the citizens of Maui County with significant concerns regarding the long-term safety of GE Operations and Practices. The Hawaii Department of Agriculture does not have an adequate regulatory structure in place to monitor GE Operations and Practices or to aid in the understanding of the impacts of these Operations and Practices on Maui’s economy, environment, cultural heritage, or public health. The direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on Maui County regarding the long-term intensive GE Operations and Practices and associated pesticide uses have not been properly or independently evaluated.

 

Response: This appears to be a superfluous repetition – see response to Finding 1 above.

 

Economic Considerations

  1. Agriculture is a [sic] important component of Maui’s agricultural economy. Organic agriculture is a rapidly expanding sector of Maui’s agricultural economy.

 

Response: Yes, according to USDA’s latest National Ag Statistics Service’s annual survey and their latest Certified Organic Production Survey (Oct 2012), the sales of organic farm products in Hawaii of $7.475 million accounts for 1.2% of all agricultural sales, produced on 2,701 organic certified acres (1,049 in pasture/range), or 0.24% of the state’s agricultural acreage. Data by county in Hawaii could not be found.

 

  1. Maui County’s local economy is also dependent on the success of its tourism industry, which makes up the County’s largest employment sector. The protection of Maui’s land and waters is crucial to the continuing success of Maui’s tourism industry.

 

  1. Maui’s agricultural economy relies on maintaining its reputation for high quality organic and conventional crops. Preserving the identity, quality, and reliability of Maui’s agricultural products and exports is critical to its economic well-being.

 

Transgenic Contamination

  1. The contamination of agricultural products with GE Organisms can have a myriad of significant impacts. Organic and many foreign markets prohibit GE products and even a single event of Transgenic Contamination can and has resulted in significant economic harm when the contaminated crops are rejected by buyers.

 

Response: The predominant GE crops in Hawaii are seed corn and papaya. The papaya growers have established foreign markets which includes testing of non-GE papayas prior to shipping. According to the USDA NASS, in Hawaii there are two farms producing certified organic sweet corn and one farm producing certified organic corn silage/green chop; to date, no reports of economic loss from cross-pollination of non-organic corn are in the public domain.

 

  1. Transgenic contamination can and does occur as a result of cross-pollination, co-mingling of conventional and GE seeds, accidental transfer by animals or weather events, and other mechanisms. Transgenic contamination results in GE crops growing where they are not intended. For example, since the introduction of GE papaya in Hawaii County (Big Island), more than 50% of the non-GE papaya crops on the Big Island have been cross-contaminated by GE papaya.

 

Response: The 2006 report from GMO-Free Hawaii claimed that papaya seed collected from backyard gardens or wild trees from the Big Island had a 50% incidence of detectable GE seeds according to the results from a commercial lab. No further confirmation or follow up study has been conducted other than UH CTAHR’s survey of papayas from across Kauai which found zero incidence for presence of GE papaya trees or their fruit.

 

  1. Transgenic contamination prevents farmers and the public from having the fundamental right to choose whether or not to grow crops that are free from GE. Farmers and other parties who lose non-GE standing and markets through no fault of their own as a result of transgenic contamination have no adequate legal recourse.

 

Response: There are no publically available reports in Hawaii documenting loss of non-GE standing and markets due to cross-pollination from GE corn or papaya.

 

  1. Currently, no mechanisms exist to ensure that transgenic cotamination will not occur.

 

Response: Cross-pollination in corn and papaya is well understood. In papaya, using hermaphrodite plants (combined with roughing out females) is the commercial standard, with self-pollination occurring at a very high rate before the flower opens, which greatly minimizes cross-pollination. In corn, it is well established from foundation and certified seed production that timing and distance are effective mechanisms for minimizing cross-pollination.

 

  1. There are no known or proven scientific methodologies or procedures to recall GE Organisms or remediate/decontaminate the Environment from any damages once GE Organisms are released into the Environment and contamination has occurred.

 

Response: Not so; a simple procedure is to cease planting of a given variety. Detection of unapproved StarLink corn in the food supply in 2000 led to an immediate halt in further planting combined with continuous monitoring for its presence in US corn supply. Six years of testing showed US corn to be 99.99% StarLink free, and EPA then submitted this data in their proposal to cease the monitoring. It was successfully recalled and caused no allergies. See: US EPA Office of Pesticide Programs, Concerning Dietary Exposure to Cry9c Protein Produced by StarLink Corn and the Potential risks Associated with Such Exposure, October 16, 2007.

 

Risk of Harm to Soil Resources

  1. GE Operations and Practices in Maui County primarily involve seed crops and test crops that include aggressive and repeated use of pesticides before planting and during the growing cycle of these crops. Such Operations and Practices present risks and significant harm to soil resources. Some of Maui County’s soil microbes are harmed by the application of pesticides used in GE Operations and Practices.

 

Response:  Pesticides are used by conventional, organic and GE crop producers. Best management practices should be followed by all. There is a lack of evidence to show that soil resources are differentially affected by pesticide regimes associated with the different modes of production.

 

 

 

Risk of Harm to Water Resources

  1. Areas of Maui’s groundwater are already significantly contaminated with Pesticides, including DBCP and TCP, from former conventional pineapple growing operations. GE Operations and Practices in Maui County involve unprecedented use of Pesticides which greatly exacerbate an already existing problem.

 

Response: Data from the Maui County Department of Water Supply on the wells at Hamakuapoko shows that the levels of these organic residues are very low, and after treatment with the installed granular activated carbon filters, the three target organic residues (DBCP, EDB and TCP) all were below the EPA limits and in almost all cases non-detectable. Also, the 2013-2014 State Wide Pesticide Sampling Pilot Project Water Quality Finding by HDOH, HDOA and USGS does not support this alleged finding; urban areas on Oahu showed the highest number of different pesticides, and Oahu’s streams had the highest number of different pesticides detected.

 

  1. Many field sites are left fallow for significant periods of time while repeated Pesticide applications are applied. Pesticide laden water runoff from is [sic] exacerbated by repeated Pesticide treatments to fallow sites, presenting short and long term risks of significant harm to ground and surface water, beaches, and reefs.

 

Response: What data there is (see the previous response) does not support this alleged finding.

 

Risk of Harm to Air Resources

  1. Pesticide drift and fugitive dust from GE Operations and Practices present short and long term risks of significant harm especially to air resources, farm workers, and to persons living downwind from GE Operations and Practices.

 

Response: The alleged finding is not supported by existing data. The Final Project Report for Kauai Air Sampling Study (Li et al., 2013) was conducted to address community concerns about possible pesticide residues and odorous chemicals in and around Waimea, Kauai. Results of indoor and outdoor air samples showed that those pesticides that could be detected were well below the health concern exposure limits or applicable screening levels. While this data was collected in Kauai, it is instructive for Maui County which has a similar mix of agricultural operations.

 

 

Additional Resources and Documents:

 

CTAHR Biotech in Focus

 

USDA APHIS Biotechnology: Compliance with Regulations

 

USDA APHIS BRS Update FY2012and USDA APHIS BRS Update FY2011

 

An overview of the last 10 years of genetically engineered crop safety; no significant hazard detected in 1,783 scientific records

 

Kauai cancer inquiries report from Hawaii State Department of Health and Hawaii Tumor Registry reply regarding Kauai cancer inquiries

 

Genetically Engineered Plants and Foods: A scientist’s analysis of the issues, Part 1 and Part 2 by Peggy Lemaux, UC Berkeley

 

Academics Review: Scientific analysis of unsubstantiated claims by Jeffery Smith about agricultural biotechnology