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How Hawaii's Big Island Became GMO-Free

•, By Francie Diep
So what exactly is the science on the safety of GMOs? There are a lot of pro- and anti-GMO claims to filter through. The New York Times published a great spoonful of sugar this weekend to help that medicine go down: Amy Harmon profiled the GMO debate in Hawaii, and followed County Council member Greggor Ilagan as he plowed into research to decide whether to vote for or against a Big Island-wide GMO ban.

Ilagan learned that widely publicized studies purporting to show ill health effects from eating genetically modified foods have been discounted. He found that there is little risk of genetically modified genes cross-pollinating with plants of other species, although the risk is never zero. He learned more about "superweeds" that resist herbicides designed to kill them. They likely arise from extensive herbicide use with Monsanto's Roundup Ready crops, not directly from the Roundup Ready genes themselves. They're a problem, but not necessarily one that has to come with GMO foods.  

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