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BUSINESS & REGULATION: U.S. Agricultural Retailers Association urges opposition to proposed Hawaii GMO-labeling bill



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:   ARA TO MEMBERS: VOICE YOUR OPPOSITION TO PROPOSED HAWAII GMO-LABELING BILL

SOURCE:  CropLife, USA

AUTHOR:  Agricultural Retailers Association, USA

URL:     http://www.croplife.com/article/33490/ara-to-members-voice-your-opposition-to-proposed-hawaii-gmo-labeling-bill

DATE:    20.03.2013

SUMMARY: "ARA is urging members with operations in Hawaii to contact their state representatives to voice opposition to the proposed GMO-labeling bill H.B. 174. Agricultural Retailers Association has recently been made aware of a very poorly written and ill-conceived bill to mandate labeling of genetically modified foods in Hawaii. This last minute proposal is the result of some of the most extensive, aggressive and intimidating activist tactics the industry has ever encountered."

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ARA TO MEMBERS: VOICE YOUR OPPOSITION TO PROPOSED HAWAII GMO-LABELING BILL

ARA is urging members with operations in Hawaii to contact their state representatives to voice opposition to the proposed GMO-labeling bill H.B. 174.

Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) has recently been made aware of a very poorly written and ill-conceived bill to mandate labeling of genetically modified foods in Hawaii. This last minute proposal is the result of some of the most extensive, aggressive and intimidating activist tactics the industry has ever encountered. The legislation, H.B. 174, will be heard before a joint hearing of the Agriculture and Consumer Protection committees in Honolulu tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.

It is critical that a groundswell of opposition is generated, via email, to possibly counter the expected deluge coming from activists supporting this measure. The activists are driving as many as 300-500 emails per day to legislators in Hawaii. If legislation like this is passed in one state, there is always a danger that it could set a precedent for other states to follow.

All ARA members with operations in Hawaii are encouraged to express their opposition to this bill by close of business today. Time is of the essence since a hearing on the bill will be held tomorrow.

ARA is instructing members to follow this link to the Hawaii Legislature web page. Enter bill number ?HB 174? in the box that asks you to enter a measure to retrieve the corresponding hearing notice. Then you will have the opportunity to submit your name and email address, and check a box to indicate your opposition of this bill, H.B. 174. It is not necessary to provide any written comments to express your opposition.

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/submittestimony.aspx

Your voice in opposition will significantly help defeat this destructive measure that is of significant concern to the agriculture industry and the people of Hawaii. Please forward this information to others who will express opposition to the bill.

ARA will submit a letter of opposition on this bill to the Hawaii state legislature today. We appreciate your attention and help on this important issue.



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:   SEED TRADE ASSOCIATION, AG RETAILERS CONCERNED ABOUT GMO LABELING BILL

SOURCE:  Farm Futures, USA

AUTHOR:  

URL:     http://farmfutures.com/story-seed-trade-association-ag-retailers-concerned-gmo-labeling-bill-0-96279

DATE:    20.03.2013

SUMMARY: "The American Seed Trade Association and the Agricultural Retailers Association Wednesday issued an immediate call to action to block a bill calling for labeling of imported GMO produce to Hawaii. [...] Though it was originally not on the docket, Hawaiian news outlets report that a swell of anti-GMO bill supporters increased pressure to act on the bill. The Hawaiian Attorney General also challenged the bill as being unconstitutional."

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SEED TRADE ASSOCIATION, AG RETAILERS CONCERNED ABOUT GMO LABELING BILL

Groups call for immediate action on pending Hawaii legislation

The American Seed Trade Association and the Agricultural Retailers Association Wednesday issued an immediate call to action to block a bill calling for labeling of imported GMO produce to Hawaii.

The text of the bill adds to existing law that:

?The sale, offering for sale, or distribution of any imported genetically engineered produce intended for human consumption within the State is prohibited unless the fact of genetic engineering is disclosed clearly and conspicuously with a label bearing the words ?genetically engineered? directly on the produce offered for retail sale, on the label of the produce?s packaging, or, in the case of any such produce that is not separately packaged or labeled, on a clear and conspicuous label appearing on the retail store shelf or bin in which the produce is displayed for sale.?

http://openstates.org/hi/bills/2013 Regular Session/HB174/documents/HID00055044/

Additionally, the bill says suppliers will be responsible for labeling the imported produce and the container used for the packaging, holding or transporting of the product.

The labeling bill does not apply to produce grown in Hawaii, produce grown without the knowing and intentional use of GM seed or organisms or produce prepared in restaurants or other establishments.

The bill is scheduled for vote at 9 a.m. HST (2 p.m. CST) Thursday. Though it was originally not on the docket, Hawaiian news outlets report that a swell of anti-GMO bill supporters increased pressure to act on the bill. The Hawaiian Attorney General also challenged the bill as being unconstitutional.

The bill was first introduced Jan.18 by Hawaiian state Reps. Carroll, Lowen, Mizuno, Evans and Souki.

HB 174 is at the top of the list for GMO labeling supporters in Hawaii, just one of at least five other bills focused on labeling foods introduced this year in Hawaii.



                                  PART 3

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TITLE:   SENATE TO HEAR GMO LABELING BILL TODAY

SOURCE:  Big Island Now, USA

AUTHOR:  Nate Gaddis

URL:     http://bigislandnow.com/2013/03/20/senate-to-hear-gmo-labeling-bill-tomorrow/

DATE:    20.03.2013

SUMMARY: "After mounting public pressure, including a march in Hilo that drew hundreds of protestors, multiple senate committees will hear House Bill 174 in a joint session tomorrow at the state capitol. [...] Despite passing the House with only one ?no? vote, the Senate had previously refused to hear the measure. Two committee chairpersons have been under fire for accepting donations from the much-maligned Monsanto Corporation, including Senate Agricultural Committee Chairman Clarence Nishihara, and Senator Roz Baker, chairwoman of the Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection."

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SENATE TO HEAR GMO LABELING BILL TODAY

After mounting public pressure, including a march in Hilo that drew hundreds of protestors, multiple senate committees will hear House Bill 174 in a joint session tomorrow at the state capitol.

HB 174 would require labeling for genetically engineered imported foods.

Despite passing the House with only one ?no? vote, the Senate had previously refused to hear the measure.

Two committee chairpersons have been under fire for accepting donations from the much-maligned Monsanto Corporation, including Senate Agricultural Committee Chairman Clarence Nishihara, and Senator Roz Baker, chairwoman of the Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection.

Baker apparently received $2,500 from Monsanto in 2012, while Nishihara received $1,500.

Monsanto has been criticized for running what activists claim are thousands of Hawaii-based field experiments to test GMO crops.

Big Island Sen. Josh Green, chairman of the Senate Health Committee, has repeatedly stated interest in hearing HB 174. Fellow Big Island Sen. Russell Ruderman had also voiced his support for it.

Nishihara had previously declined to hear the measure, telling Honolulu Civil Beat his opposition to it was rooted in science, claiming ?Studies have not shown any ill effects.?

In a Honolulu Star Advertiser report today, Nishihara was instead quoted as explaining his concerns were legal in nature, pointing to an opinion from the state attorney general that the bill could be found unconstitutional.

Attorney General David Loule has warned lawmakers that the federal government has the final say in food labeling matters, and that the bill could infringe on interstate commerce rules and the First Amendment.



                                  PART 4

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TITLE:   DOWN TO EARTH TO REQUIRE GMO LABELING BY 2018

SOURCE:  Maui Now, USA

AUTHOR:  Sonia Isotov

URL:     http://mauinow.com/2013/03/12/down-to-earth-to-require-gmo-labeling-by-2018/

DATE:    12.03.2013

SUMMARY: "Down to Earth Organic & Natural today announced it will begin requiring any products with ingredients containing genetically modified organisms to be labeled as such by 2018. The decision follows a similar announcement by Whole Foods this past Friday. ?Whole Foods announcement is a game changer,? said Mark Fergusson, the chief organic officer for Down to Earth, in a press statement on Tuesday. ?It marks a big victory in the move towards the labeling of genetically labeled foods. Down to Earth will monitor and review the situation and may move our implementation date earlier if that becomes possible.?"

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DOWN TO EARTH TO REQUIRE GMO LABELING BY 2018

Down to Earth Organic & Natural today announced it will begin requiring any products with ingredients containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to be labeled as such by 2018. The decision follows a similar announcement by Whole Foods this past Friday.

?Whole Foods announcement is a game changer,? said Mark Fergusson, the chief organic officer for Down to Earth, in a press statement on Tuesday.

?It marks a big victory in the move towards the labeling of genetically labeled foods. Down to Earth will monitor and review the situation and may move our implementation date earlier if that becomes possible.?

Fergusson also said that Down to Earth believes in providing foods that are good for people and the environment. ?GMOs pose health and environmental risks, and have resulted in increased herbicide use, growth of super-weeds, and loss of biodiversity. GMOs have led to increased control over the food supply by a handful of multinational companies and, simply put, are moving in the wrong direction.?

?We should be moving towards organic sustainable agriculture, not towards ever increasing use of harmful pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers, and dangerous genetic modifications with a host of unwanted, and little understood, negative impacts on human health and the environment,? he explains.

?We call upon all natural food retailers and other natural products industry members to join the requirement for GMO labeling for all products sold by the industry. Acting together we can implement labeling without having to wait for government,? added Fergusson.

A Down to Earth spokesperson also mentioned that the company has a long term goal of being all organic and GMO free and that to meet this goal the company is gradually eliminating, and avoiding adding, products that may contain GMOs. Reportedly, the company does not sell single-ingredient GMO foods including, papaya, corn, soy, canola or sugar.

And, Down to Earth reported that it gives preference to products that are USDA Certified Organic or have the Non-GMO Project Verified seal, which is backed by independent testing. The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit initiative of the natural products industry.

?The natural products industry along with many concerned consumers and others, have long pressed for and supported efforts to require mandatory labeling of foods containing GMOs,? said Fergusson.

Proposition 37, which was introduced in California this past November, would have required mandatory labeling of GMO foods. While it failed to pass by a narrow margin, it sparked a growing movement across the nation as consumers organize to pass laws on the state level that will require labeling of foods containing GMOs, including in Hawaii where HB174 would require labeling of genetically modified imported produce items.

Fergusson is also the President of HOFA (Hawaii Organic Farming Association) which advocates for and educates about organic and sustainable agriculture and related issues.

Started in Maui in 1977, Down to Earth is has four stores on Oahu: Honolulu, Kailua, Pearlridge, and Kapolei; and one in Kahului on Maui.