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GMO taro ban proposal goes to full council

Panel can’t reach consensus on ‘confusing’ issue despite letters, testifiers in support of restriction

Photo by Cliff Souza
Photo by Cliff Souza

POSTED: August 21, 2009

WAILUKU – A Maui County Council committee picked up Thursday where it left off six weeks ago to discuss a bill to prohibit genetically modified taro in Maui County.

Economic Development, Agriculture and Recreation Committee members got close to passing the measure, but instead the panel’s five members voted unanimously to forward the "confusing" issue to the entire nine-member County Council.

"So everyone can get an opportunity to participate in the discussion," committee Chairwoman Jo Anne Johnson said.

The committee was unable to arrive at a consensus even after hearing dozens of testifiers and receiving hundreds of e-mails in support, said Council Member Bill Medeiros, who grew up in Hana eating taro and introduced the ban. It is essential to protect the sacred and healthful staple of the Native Hawaiian people, he argued.