Is Hawaii's Anti-GMO Movement Really Just Anti-Science?


"Is Hawaii's Anti-GMO Movement Really Just Anti-Science?" produced by Sharif Matar. 

Original release date was January 29, 2014 and original writeup is below.

Hawaii is at the center of the fight over genetically modified organisms (GMOs)—and the food people are eating all over the United States.

Because of Hawaii's favorable climate, plant breeders and food companies do huge amounts of research and seed development there, including modifying and transforming crops via all sorts of biotechnology. In 2013, two islands in the Aloha State passed legislation restricting GMO use and local and international activists are pushing for broader bans across the rest of the state. Anti-GMO activists say that the crops are potentially harmful and can contaminate the rest of Hawaii's agriculture.

Legislators are currently considering a bill that would mandate labeling on all foods with genetically engineered material, a move that critics claim would increase the cost of food in Hawaii even more (according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Hawaii already pays about 40 percent more for food than other states). Other states are also proposing GMO-labeling schemes because of the fears associated with such products. Connecticut and Maine, for instance, have already passed labeling laws, but they won't go into effect until after other states follow suit.

The battle over GMOs will likely turn on questions of safety and property rights: Are GMO foods safe for human consumption? And who gets to decide how cropland is used—voters or landowners?

Reason TV traveled to Hawaii and reports on both issues.

For more on the situation in Hawaii—and the scientific consensus that GMO foods are absolutely safe to eat—read Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey's story, "The Fable of Hawaiian Frankencorn." For Reason's coverage of GMOs, go here.

About 9 minutes.

NEXT: Baylen Linnekin Says the Farm Bill Stinks

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Recycled content without the original comments. Everyone happy now?

  2. GMOs cause extinction of butterflies!
    …” a big reason identified definitively by entomologists is the use of genetically engineered (GMO) crops on 170 million acres along the Monarch’s migration path through the Midwest.”

    Uh, no. The ’cause’ (assuming it is so) is that farmers are able to better control the milk-weed plants, so it’s at most a peripheral effect of GMO crops.…..tterflies/

  3. I like how all of these people are both ugly and look like they’re taking a shit.

  4. Everything we eat has already been genetically modified from its original state.

    1. Well, except salt and water. We’re working on those. 😉

  5. Is there any anti-GMO movement that is not anti-science?

    1. I was talking to a biomed engineer the other night at a party. She was relating a conversation with a lawyer who turned out to be doing work for ADM, and claimed to have asked him how he could sleep at night defending such monsters. The two lefties nearby shook their heads in agreed contempt for such a creature.

      Puzzled, I asked if her problem was with ADM’s farm subsidy rent-seeking (which I would have agreed is borderline murderous). She looked at me like I had two heads, and one of the other lefties chuckled at my presumed ignorance, explaining that it was due to the horrors of GMO.

      Biomedical engineering PhD’s believe that shit. The human mind has a massive tolerance for cognitive dissonance.

      PS: this is why I hate parties attended by NoVA tech professionals.

  6. How about this for a compromise: mandate that all foods lacking any GMO ingredients be labeled as such. The information would, of course, be equivalent to mandatory labeling for GMO foods.

    What’s that you say Mr Luddite? That places an unfair burden on natural foods makers? Might prejudice consumers into thinking there’s something wrong with non-GMO foods?


Please to post comments

Comments are closed.