On November 4th, voters across the United States cast their ballots for the mid-term elections for federal, state and local candidate’s races.
In Maui County, Hawaii, voters passed an initiative that proposed a moratorium on the development, farming and cultivation of genetically engineered crops in their county. Like many others, we’re concerned about the potential consequences of this ban for the County and for farming in Hawaii. If enacted, it will hurt the local economy, as well as local farmers and home gardeners. We believe that people should be free to plant the seeds of their own choice whether those seeds are GMO, organic, or conventional.
We know some people in Maui County have questions about Monsanto and the other people who grow GMO crops on local farms. With more than 1,000 local employees living and working in Hawaii, we’re committed to ongoing dialogue as we work with others to make sure agriculture continues its historic role as an important part of the islands’ economy. We’re confident in the safety of our products and our practices that have been reviewed and approved by the stringent regulatory system of the Federal and state agencies.
That is why we will continue to listen to and talk with other people in the Hawaiian agricultural community as we work to determine if this initiative is legal and will be enforced.
In addition to the ballot initiative in Maui County, Colorado and Oregon voters rejected two initiatives that would mandate the labeling of products containing GMOs. Like many others, we support a federal approach to GMO labeling rather than a patchwork of state laws. We think the rejection of Proposition 105 in Colorado and Measure 92 in Oregon will help people avoid this patchwork approach, and the negative impact this law would have had on the grocery bills for the foods their families eat. That’s why we will continue to support the national labeling system, which provides a reliable set of standards for safety and allows for the provision of the information consumers want.
We believe that state-by-state mandatory labeling laws do not provide people with any useful information about safety or nutrition. We also know that that some people have concerns about GMOs and we’re committed to being part of those conversations. We hope GM opponents will join with us. The challenges agriculture faces are too important for us not to work together to help address them.