Hawai’i Council passes GMO restriction bill

Travis Quezon

After hours of testimony, The Hawai'i County Council unanimously passed a bill that will protect the taro (kalo) and coffee industry from genetic engineering today.

Bill 361, introduced by Councilman Angel Pilago, makes it illegal to test, propagate, cultivate, raise, plant, grow, introduce or release genetically engineered taro and coffee in the Big Island.

Violators face a $1,000 fine or one year imprisonment for each count.

The bill also makes it illegal to build a laboratory or a greenhouse for the purpose of conducting genetic research on the two crops.

A signature from Mayor Harry Kim is now needed to make the ban into law.

To read the bill, visit the Hawai'i County website.