With thousands of acres of farmland across the Islands already devoted to genetically modified seeds, there are few signs that Hawai‘i is ready to get serious about regulation.
Ask folks to name Hawaii’s most valuable farm crop and they’ll likely say sugar or pineapple, maybe hazard a guess at macadamia nuts. Few will answer correctly–seeds–and even fewer will know that at least half that industry is devoted to growing genetically-modified organisms, or GMOs.
GMO is the catch phrase for any plant, animal, bacteria or virus with genetic material that has been altered through engineering. This is commonly done by forcing a gene, usually through use of a virus, bacteria or cell bombardment, from one organism into another to create an entirely new organism with desired traits, which can then be patented by its creator. Although born in a laboratory, genetically-engineered (GE) plants must be tested in the real world of soil and sun. Those that succeed are grown on a larger scale, producing seed for commercial farmers who are not legally allowed to save patented seed from their harvests, and so must buy new supplies each year.
Honolulu Weekly article