Hawaii County GM papaya grower challenges GMO/pesticide restriction ban

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An unnamed farmer filed a lawsuit seeking relief from requirements of Hawaii County’s recently enacted ban on genetically modified crops.

The suit, John Doe vs. County of Hawaii, was filed Monday in Hilo’s 3rd Circuit Court and seeks relief from the registration provisions of the GMO ban, which were required to be fulfilled by today.

Signed into law Dec. 5, Section 14-133 of Article 22 of the Hawaii County Code requires “all persons engaged in any form of cultivation, propagation, development, or indoor testing of genetically engineered crops or plants of any kind shall register annually beginning on or before March 5, and shall pay an annual registration fee of $100 per location, payable to the director of finance.”

According to the complaint, filed by Honolulu-based attorneys Margery S. Bronster and Rex Y. Fujichaku, the plaintiff cultivates a variety of papaya that was genetically engineered for resistance to the ringspot virus, a disease responsible for the decimation of the isle’s papaya industry in the 1990s.

Despite the fact papaya is exempted from the ban, growers are still required to register with the county. The suit claims the registration and disclosure process is “burdensome and intrusive,” requiring commercial growers of genetically engineered crops to submit “confidential information and trade secrets to the county Department of Research and Development, including the exact locations of these crops (which are indistinguishable visually from conventional crops); the name of the owner and/or lessee of the property; and detailed, commercially valuable and proprietary information regarding the grower’s breeding, production and cultivation practices.”

Read the full original article: Farmer files lawsuit over GMO bill

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