Science provides facts for Hawaii GMO debate

Symptoms of papaya ringspot virus. The disease is controlled in a GMO variety called Rainbow papaya. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Symptoms of papaya ringspot virus. The disease is controlled in a GMO variety called Rainbow papaya. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Proposed law could ban production of genetically modified organisms on the big island of Hawaii

The New York Times reported on a heated debate on the Big Island of Hawaii late last year about a proposed law that would ban the production of genetically modified organisms by farmers in that part of the island state.

The story describes a lone councilman's effort to get science based information in face of vocal opposition to GMOs among advocacy groups. The lack of input from farmers and scientists on policy issues that affect food and farming has rankled many agricultural scientists, including Pamela Ronald, professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Davis. She compared some advocacy groups' resolute objections to GMOs to people who don't believe the world climate is changing despite the scientific proof.

“Just as many on the political right discount the broad scientific consensus that human activities contribute to global warming, many progressive advocacy groups disregard, reject or ignore the decades of scientific studies demonstrating the safety and wide-reaching benefits” of genetically engineered crops, Ronald said.

[Read the full blog post by Jeannette Warnert, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources]

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