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Big Island farmer sues over GMO registration rule

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 04:34 p.m. HST, Mar 05, 2014

HILO » A Big 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.

Registration requirements are required to be fulfilled Wednesday. 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 bill, 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 & 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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mcc wrote:
What is he hiding????
on March 5,2014 | 09:36AM
st1d wrote:
he is trying to safeguard the lives of his family and his livelihood from anti gmo cult vandals that have been destroying papaya crops on the big island. seems like he's taking appropriate precautions to do so.
on March 5,2014 | 09:48AM
OldDiver wrote:
Sad day when farmers not only have to deal with anti-science nitwits but must defend their property against attacks from them.
on March 5,2014 | 12:46PM
Rite80 wrote:
This puts into question the mindset of those opposed to independent farmers choosing what they wish to grow.
on March 5,2014 | 01:22PM
st1d wrote:
he is safeguarding the lives of his family and workers as well as protecting his livelihood from the anti gmo cult vandals. seems like he's taking appropriate actions.
on March 5,2014 | 09:52AM
st1d wrote:
sorry about the dupe posts. first post did not appear until after second attempt.
on March 5,2014 | 09:59AM
cartwright wrote:
He knows he's losing his customers when they find out that they eat GMO. That's his 'trade secret'.
on March 5,2014 | 10:02AM
lee1957 wrote:
GMO papaya is hardly a secret.
on March 5,2014 | 10:14AM
HealthyandHappy wrote:
And 75% of the people don't know who Biden is.
on March 5,2014 | 11:26AM
serious wrote:
He is trying to make a living and not be on welfare like 50% of the Hawaiian population. The Legislators, starting with the governor don't know how to work--they have been on the enhanced welfare system forever.
on March 5,2014 | 12:51PM
bumba wrote:
on March 5,2014 | 01:10PM
bekwell wrote:
All foods we eat are GMO. It's been going on for a long time. Cross breeding is GMO. Wheat, rice, corn, oats, fruits, vegetables; the list goes on and on. Are you hoppa?. You're genetically modified.
on March 5,2014 | 02:27PM
Leinanij wrote:
No, cross breeding is hybridization using cross-pollination. With GMOs, the plant DNA is mixed with the gene of another plant or unrelated species, animals or bacteria. So Hybrids and GMOs are very different. And no I'm not genetically modified, although you clearly have a mental problem that should be modified.
on March 5,2014 | 03:04PM
Skyler wrote:
Thank you. There are so many people who have no clue what GMOs really are... and it's frightening that some of them are our lawmakers.
on March 5,2014 | 04:32PM
Leinanij wrote:
Gee I wonder what the City will do if I say there isn't any scientific or factual justification for collection of taxes? Poor excuses won't justify non- compliance with the law.
on March 5,2014 | 03:09PM
st1d wrote:
here we go. anti gmo cultists will use this law as a weapon to enrich themselves by suing seed companies for technical infractions of the letter of the law. the anti gmo cult will soon be unmasked as bounty hunters looking to get rich by filing lawsuit after lawsuit.
on March 5,2014 | 07:36PM
Manoahillside wrote:
I can see the hate in some of the comments below. There are a lot of cases where GMO Nazis attack the farmer's crops. Registering will be public information. This is a bad law. The sponsor's of the bill do not care about the livelihood of the farmers. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the US government made the Japanese register. Then they took away their businesses, and put them into internment camps. Didn't the Nazi's make the Jewish people register before they rounded them up? Is history going to repeat itself?
on March 6,2014 | 03:06AM
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