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Fear based restrictions on agriculture dismissed by US District Appeals Court

The anti-GMO and pesticide measures that emerged over the past two years in Kauai, Maui and Hawaii counties are now a perfect zero for six in federal courts. Who said you couldn’t find a good bagel in Hawaii?

In agreement with earlier US District Court rulings, the Appeals Court found that modern plant varieties and modern pesticides are regulated by federal and state agencies, and that county-based attempts to impose unjustified additional regulations, prohibitions or moratoriums based on the self-contradictory precautionary principle are not legal. still-legal

Papaya and corn remain legal in Hawaii

This hardly comes as a surprise to those following the marathon of miserable information paraded as fact that has run through Hawaii regarding plant breeding and pesticide management activities over the past several years. Despite claims from proponents of Victorian-era agriculture that the sky is falling because of modern agriculture, there has not been any verified harm to the safety of humans or the environment, and our status as one of the healthiest states in the country remains unchanged.

The overreach in attempts to punish agricultural practices was as absurd and sloppy as much of the justification for the county bills:

  • Field use of experimental pesticides on Kauai would be banned, despite the fact that the EPA does not permit field use of experimental pesticides.
  • All three bills included fines equal to felonies in Hawaii, while the Kauai and Maui bills included enormous civil fines ($25,000 to $50,000) and up to one year in jail.
  • The Maui bill would also have made criminals of those growing papayas in their back yard. And, resistance is futile: the Director of Environmental Management (and the Director’s agents, representatives, and assistants, sub-contractors) is authorized to enter the property and remove GE Organisms at the violator’s expense.

Those who only find problems with every solution (e.g., in agriculture, medicine, or technology) will likely never reconsider their views. For those not familiar with modern agriculture or science but who find it hard to believe that farmers, seed producers, regulators and the courts are in league to poison consumers and end life as we know it in Hawaii, consider reviewing science’s Baloney Detection Kit and the assessments by some of the best scientific organizations in the world (at the links below). The evidence-based information there tells us that GM crops are at least as safe as non-GM crops, that pesticides have never been safer than they are today, and that both are already well regulated.

* * *

European Commission: A Decade of EU-funded GMO Research

National Academy of Sciences: Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects (2016)

National Academy of Sciences: The Impact of Genetically Engineered Crops on Farm Sustainability in the United States

National Academy of Sciences: Safety of Genetically Engineered Foods: Approaches to Assessing Unintended Health Effects (2004)

Environmental Protection Agency: Understanding the Science behind EPA’s Pesticide Decisions

American Medical Association: Bioengineered Crops and Foods

American Association for the Advancement of Science: Labeling of Genetically Modified Foods

World Health Organization: 20 Questions on Genetically Modified Foods

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