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Suit challenges Big Isle GMO registration law

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 02:18 a.m. HST, Mar 06, 2014

HILO » A Hawaii island papaya farmer is suing for relief from new registration requirements for growers of genetically modified crops.

The lawsuit filed earlier this week claims the county's new registration law is "burdensome and intrusive."

Papaya crops are exempted by the county's new law restricting the planting of genetically modified crops to enclosed structures such as greenhouses. But papaya growers are still required to register with the county.

Wednesday was the deadline for registration requirements to be fulfilled. Violations could include penalties of a fine of up to $1,000 per day.

According to the lawsuit, the unnamed plaintiff cultivates a variety of papaya that was genetically engineered for resistance to a destructive virus.

"Plaintiff brings this action because he reasonably believes that, if he is forced to provide his confidential information to the county, he faces a genuine risk that the information will be disclosed to third parties and cause plaintiff irreparable harm from vandalism, intimidation and misappropriation of his trade secrets," the lawsuit said.

County attorneys were evaluating the lawsuit, and Councilwoman Margaret Wille, who sponsored the measure, said she expected there to be lawsuits, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.

Supporters of genetically modified crops "don't want to be accountable and the papaya folks end up being the spokesparty for the industry," she said.

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United is supporting the lawsuit.

The group's spokeswoman said in a statement that registration and disclosure requirements "unfairly target growers of genetically engineered crops, primarily papaya growers, by forcing them to disclose personal and commercially confidential information about themselves and their operations without any scientific or factual justification."

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st1d wrote:
the farmer is justified in fearing the anti-gmo cult and its rejection of science. crops have been ruined by vandals and farmers have been denied the right to pursue their chosen profession as this cult protests and legislates science.
on March 6,2014 | 04:11AM
OldDiver wrote:
Agreed. These are independent farmers trying to make a living. The health food industry is spending millions spreading nonsense that GM foods are dangerous while selling questionable cures for every ailment in the book. The big island council person who pushed this bill is one of these people.
on March 6,2014 | 05:26AM
XML808 wrote:
I agree. Many prominent scientists have debunked the GMO myths but for some reason these falsities persist.
on March 6,2014 | 07:23AM
cartwright wrote:
There are no "business sensitive" questions to fill out. Just owner name, TMK where farming takes place, if conventional, organic or GMO farming practices. And if GMO farming, which specific strain. It's a frivolous law suit with no merit. Objective is to take revenge on the county coffers for making a highly popular decision on behalf of its citizens. All my Hawaiian isle neighbor farmers all approve this law.
on March 6,2014 | 07:51AM
Rite80 wrote:
Making said farmer prone to even more vandalism from the hysterical anti-GMO lobby.
on March 6,2014 | 08:12AM
cartwright wrote:
It's not public info anyways. Vandalism isn't the real issue, but real estate prices close to GMO farms would drop.
on March 6,2014 | 07:17PM
eleu808 wrote:
I quit eating GMO papaya. I used to eat pounds of GMO papaya not knowing it was GMO papaya. Farmer were selling the papaya at 5 for a dollar from the back of trucks in Laie. Now I am allergic to neo-sporin. I was never allergic to neo-sporin before. I found out that the GMO scientists use the neo-sporin gene marker to kill the ring-spot virus. I was eating an anti-biotic when I do not want to eat an anti-biotic. Then I found out that there were no human safety test trials conducted before putting the papaya on the market. The pro-GMO industry does not want labeling because allergies can be traced back to thier gene altered product. That is why the chemical companies and pro-GMO companies crush any attempt at labeling.
on March 6,2014 | 04:49AM
OldDiver wrote:
Pure fantasy on your part. This is the type of anti science hysterical which drives the anti GMO movement.
on March 6,2014 | 05:20AM
XML808 wrote:
Following that logic you might want to make a list of things you eat regularly and cut these from you diet. Be safe my friend.
on March 6,2014 | 07:26AM
st1d wrote:
you need to wear a baseball cap lined with tin foil.
on March 6,2014 | 04:50PM
kanuman wrote:
This lawsuit is bogus. there is no evidence that "irreparable harm from vandalism, intimidation and misappropriation of his trade secrets," has ever happen to this farmer. Sure looks like the unnamed farmer is really the Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United backed by Monsanto.
on March 6,2014 | 08:00AM
Rite80 wrote:
Monsanto is not doing business on the Big Island.
on March 6,2014 | 08:10AM
cartwright wrote:
"Hawaii Farmers & Ranchers United" is someone from California based Calavo Growers, the largest buyer of Hawaiian GMO papayas.
on March 6,2014 | 07:20PM
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