Legislature is protecting the interests of big ag

The state Senate committee’s tabling the bill to require genetically modified organism labeling (The Maui News, March 22) is touted as a victory for the agriculture industry. It is only a financial victory for those who grow GMO foods, not a victory for the whole of agriculture in the state.

Sen. Roz Baker was quoted as being concerned about how labeling might hurt the islands’ food industry. To the extent that we pretend to have a free market, if there is full information about what is sold to us on the grocery shelves, those who supply what we want will prosper and those who don’t either adapt or go out of business.

Whole Foods recently reported that labeling non-GMO products increased their sales between 15 and 30 percent. So, with required labeling, farmers who grow non-GMO produce would most likely benefit, which is how the market should operate.

So what this is really about is the Legislature standing aside to protect the financial interests of certain big ag producers and seed companies by continuing to allow the producers and distributors to hide relevant facts from the consumer about the food they try to sell us.

So, what about us consumers and our right to know what’s in our food in order to make informed choices? Don’t we matter compared to big ag? How about supporting agriculture that supplies us with the food many of us really want? That would be a real help to the islands’ food industry.

Gene Groves