Food fight - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Food fight

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HALEIWA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Hawaii's anti-GMO movement made its latest stop in Haleiwa.

Hundreds poured onto Kamehameha Highway to protest one of the state's largest producers of genetically modified crops: Monsanto Corp.

Organizers, who plan similar rallies around the state this month, said chemicals used on genetically modified crops are harming residents. They are calling for better labeling of GMO food products -- if not an outright bans.

"We are worried about our health, we are worried about the health of our land and our island," said Molokai activist Walter Ritte.

Added Wahiawa resident Joel Veach:

"We're looking at a lot of problems with the seeds, we're looking at a lot of problems with the poison sprays that are on them," he said.

Many of Hawaii's largest agribusinesses grow GMO crops. They say a ban or labeling will hurt the economy.

"The seed industry is a $250 million a year industry that supports 2,000 local jobs. and these people are rallying to put 2,000 people on the state's unemployment roll," said Alicia Maluafiti, executive director of the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association.

Maluafiti says the health risks associated with GMOs are way overblown.

"We've had almost 20 years of genetically engineered food. We've had 3 trillion servings -- and not one single case of health or safety risk," she said.

The state Legislature is considering several bills to regulate GMOs. In the meantime, protesters say they will continue to take their anti-GMO message to Hawaii's streets.