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Wednesday, April 08, 2009 


Something a bit seedy is happening in Hawai'i.
Ask folks to name Hawai‘i’s most valuable farm crop and they’ll likely say sugar or pineapple, maybe hazard a guess at macadamia nuts. Few will answer correctly–seeds–and even fewer will know that at least half that industry is devoted to growing genetically-modified organisms, or GMOs.

In the past two decades, the Islands have hosted some 2,252 outdoor tests for experimental GE plants, more than any other place. Open-air field trials have been conducted on corn, soybeans, cotton, potatoes, wheat, alfalfa, beets, rice, safflower, sorghum, sunflowers, sugar cane, pineapple, dendrobium orchids, anthurium, coffee and papaya, among others. About 130 now are under way throughout the state.

Some of Hawai‘i’s outdoor tests—by companies such as Monsanto, ProdiGene, Garst Seed Co. and Hawai‘i Agriculture Research Center(HARC)—also involved biopharmaceuticals, which refers to plants genetically-engineered to produce medical supplies, drugs, vaccines and industrial chemicals. According to court documents, these trials involved experimental AIDS and hepatitis B vaccines; growth hormones; enzyme production from human genes; and aprotinin, a blood-clotting cow protein that is also an insect toxin. Information about where these tests were done remains blocked by a court order. -
Honolulu Weekly

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