My GMO Labeling Testimony to HNL City Council

Yesterday, I spent about 6-7 hours down at Honolulu Hale waiting to give my verbal testimony supporting a proposed amendment to the Hawaii State Association of Counties that would require labeling on genetically modified foods (GMOs) in Hawaii. Below is my testimony.

An unprecedented amount of people came out and gave clear, thoughtful and emotional testimony in support of this amendment. It was encouraging to see, and rightfully so. Every major poll reveals that Americans want to know if they are eating GMO. Unfortunately, HNL City Council voted NOT to include the amended version.

If you don’t already know, Hawaii is ground zero for GM crop testing and production. Four of the top biotech companies have facilities here. Needless to say, these mega multi-national corporations have been lobbying, buying and selling Hawaii’s politicians from the day they came here in the 70s. It’s obvious who are politicians work for.

This experience was an eye opening one that showed me first hand how the 1% have literally taken control of OUR governments, so that they no longer work in our best interest.

I am down but I’m not out. I believe in real power is people. More of us need to get educated on GMO foods and take an active role in demanding labeling from our governments…that work for US. I will continue to let my followers know about any legislative initiatives and how you can participate.

Read coverage from HNL Civil Beat HERE and HERE.

Here is what I had to say:

Aloha Honorable Members of the City Council of Honolulu:

My name is Jim DiCarlo. I am an educator who has taught in Hawaii public schools and I’m now the owner of a small business that teaches workshops in and out of schools on a variety of sustainable living topics. I teach kids and adults about things like composting, growing food and living a life that is in harmony with nature.

I am a concerned citizen and strongly support this floor draft for labeling genetically modified foods which include corn, canola, cottonseed, soy and Hawaiian papaya. In the past three years I have become much more concerned about my health and diet. I’ve adopted a regular exercise routine and have taken proactive measures to educate myself about what I’m eating and how it’s produced. I feel great! However, I have recently learned that many of the foods that I eat are genetically modified or contain genetically modified ingredients. I’ve also learned that these GE foods may be putting the health of my family and me at risk. I want to get them out of my diet but I can’t, because I don’t know which foods contain them. Many Americans, including me, believe this information should be placed on a label or sticker on products that contain GE ingredients. Not knowing this information directly infringes on my freedom to make a choice about what I want to put into my body.

The European Union, the largest agricultural region in the world as well as Australia, Japan, Brazil and New Zealand have all passed laws requiring genetically modified food labeling. These other free first world countries have honorably respected their citizens’ right to know what’s in their food. It’s about time we do to.

The biotech companies and FDA say there’s no need for us to be concerned. But my research has shown otherwise. I was alarmed when I learned about the minimal testing and potential health risks of genetically modified foods. The biotech companies and the FDA claim that GM crops are no different from their non-GM counterparts. They say that GM foods pose no risk whatsoever to my health and that any GM substances that remain in food are broken down in the digestive system.  They say there’s a consensus amongst the scientists. I’ve discovered credible studies and information that are in direct opposition of their claims.

Here’s a summary of some of the information I encountered in my research:

  • Unlike safety evaluations for drugs, there are no human clinical trials of GM foods.
  • A recent study done in 2011 titled Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. conducted by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Sherbrooke Hospital Centre, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. has proven that Bt toxin, which is used in GM con and other crops, definitively makes its way into the blood supply, contrary to biotech company claims. This Bt toxin was found in the bloodstreams of 93% of pregnant women tested. The study explains that Bt toxin enters the body not only through direct consumption of GMOs, but also from consumption of meat, milk and eggs from animals whose feed contains GMOs.
  • The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has reported that “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM asked physicians to advise patients to avoid GM foods.
  • Thousands of sheep, buffalo, and goats in India died after grazing on Bt cotton plants.
  • Mice eating GM corn for the long term had fewer, and smaller, babies
  • More than half the babies of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks, and were smaller
  • Testicle cells of mice and rats on a GM soy change significantly
  • By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies.
  • Rodents fed GM corn and soy showed immune system responses and signs of toxicity

As for there being a consensus amongst the scientists, I have found this to be untrue as well.

In May 1998, a coalition of public interest groups, scientists, and 
religious leaders filed a landmark lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug 
Administration to obtain mandatory safety testing and labeling of all 
genetically engineered foods (Alliance for Bio-Integrity, et. al. v. 
Shalala). Nine eminent life scientists joined the coalition in order to 
emphasize the degree to which they think FDA policy is scientifically 
unsound and morally irresponsible. The FDA was required to deliver copies 
of its files–totaling over 44,000 pages–to the plaintiffs’ 
attorneys. These files clearly reveal it declared genetically engineered foods to be 
safe in the face of disagreement from its own experts–all the while 
claiming a broad scientific consensus supported its stance.

  • According to Dr. Louis Priybl of the FDA Microbiology Group, “There is a 
profound difference between the types of unexpected effects from 
traditional breeding and genetic engineering which is just glanced over 
in this document.” He added that several aspects of gene splicing “…may 
be more hazardous.”
  • Dr. Linda Kahl, an FDA compliance officer, objected that the agency was 
”…trying to fit a square peg into a round hole … [by] trying to force 
an ultimate conclusion that there is no difference between foods modified 
by genetic engineering and foods modified by traditional breeding 
practices.”  She said: “The processes of genetic engineering and 
traditional breeding are different, and according to the technical 
experts in the agency, they lead to different risks.”

There is much more. Scanned copies of these files can be found online at

The precautionary Principle states “when an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.

This principle allows policy makers to make discretionary decisions in situations where there is the possibility of harm from taking a particular course or making a certain decision when extensive scientific knowledge on the matter is lacking. The principle implies that there is a social responsibility to protect the public from exposure to harm, when scientific investigation has found a plausible risk.

The science shows there is plausible risk to the health of humans consuming GM foods. I challenge you, City Council Members, to listen to your constituents who also believe the same, and take precautionary measure of labeling GM foods.

Thank you for your time.

Jim DiCarlo


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