Report Title:

Agriculture; Seeds



Establishes permits to monitor and regulate the release of certain genetically-engineered and genetically-modified agriculturally-related organisms. Allows products to be labeled as "GMO-free".


S.B. NO.












SECTION 1. The purpose of this Act is to establish permits to:

(1) Monitor and regulate the release of certain genetically-engineered and genetically-modified agriculturally-related organisms to protect humans and the environment from any adverse effects from those releases; and

(2) Ensure that the use of agriculturally-related genetically-modified organisms does not violate the rights of agricultural growers and consumers who elect not to grow or consume genetically-modified organisms.

SECTION 2. The Hawaii Revised Statutes is amended by adding a new chapter to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:




   -1 Definitions. As used in this chapter:

"Agricultural grower" or "producer" means:

(1) A landowner or tenant, however lawfully organized, growing and directly involved in the production of crops, livestock, or other agriculturally-related organisms; or

(2) A person who grows and harvests agriculturally-related organisms in a vegetable garden primarily for household use.

"Agriculturally-related organism" means any organism that is used in agricultural production or processing of agricultural products. It includes livestock and livestock products; dairy animals and dairy products; poultry and poultry products; domestic fur-bearing animals; animal feeds; horticultural stock; nursery stock; fruit; vegetables; forage grain; wild rice; seeds; bees; apiary products; produce grown and harvested in a home vegetable garden; and products for the control and mitigation of noxious weeds.

It excludes vaccines and drugs for use in humans; genetic engineering of human germ cells and human somatic cells intended for use in human gene therapy; vaccines for use in livestock, dairy animals, poultry, domestic fur-bearing animals, or private aquatic life; genetically-engineered wild animals; and forestry products.

"Chairperson" means the chairperson of the board of agriculture.

"Genetically-engineered", "genetically-modified organism", or "GMO" means an organism that has been modified directly or indirectly using genetic engineering.

"GMO-free content" means an agriculturally-related organism, or all of the component parts of a product made from one or more agriculturally-related organisms, that is entirely free of content derived from genetically-modified organisms.

"Technology use agreement" means a license for the use of agriculturally-related organisms in which the licensing party asserts and retains title to ownership of the genetically-engineered traits of the livestock or crops derived from the organism.

   -2 Products from nongenetically-modified organisms; labeling option. (a) Products offered for wholesale or retail sale in the State that contain only ingredients or component source products that have been grown, harvested, processed, and handled, pursuant to the requirements of this section, may be labeled: "This product consists entirely of ingredients free of genetically-modified organisms", "farmer certified GMO-free", or with a message conveying similar meaning.

(b) The label described in subsection (a) may appear on the principal display panel of a packaged product, be conspicuously attached to the container of a bulk product, or appear in any advertisement for a product, including media advertising, or displays or placards posted in retail stores.

   -3 Affidavits; records. (a) A processor purchasing agricultural crops or livestock or partially processed components to be used in products labeled under section    -2 shall require an affidavit approved by the chairperson from producers or processors supplying the crop, livestock, or partially processed components to the processor. This affidavit shall be signed by the producer or processor or an authorized representative and state that all livestock grain, feed stock, or partially processed components delivered by the producer to the processor for use in the processor's operations are free of genetically-modified organisms.

(b) A processor shall keep original affidavits from producers or processors on file for a period of not less than two years. These affidavits and corresponding records shall be made available for inspection by the chairperson. A processor of a product to be labeled pursuant to section    -2 shall supply a certificate to each producer or processor stating that the producer or processor has provided affidavits pursuant to subsection (a).

   -4 Separation of GMO-free crops, livestock, and partially processed components. To qualify for labeling under section    -2, all GMO-free crops, livestock, or partially processed components shall be kept fully separate from other crops, livestock, or partially processed components through all stages of harvest, storage, transportation, and processing until the final products are in packaged form in a properly labeled container. Records of the separation shall be kept by the processor at all stages and made available to the chairperson for inspection.

   -5 Labeling of genetically-modified crop seeds; liability. (a) With respect to genetically-modified crop seeds sold in the State or for use in the State, the manufacturer of the genetically-modified crop seeds shall provide written instructions on how to plant the seeds and grow and harvest the crop so as to avoid cross-pollination or other contamination with growing crops of nongenetically-modified plant organisms. The manufacturer shall be responsible for ensuring that the instructions are on the package in which the crop seeds are sold to a grower.

(b) The manufacturer may submit written instructions prepared for purposes of subsection (a) to the chairperson for approval. The chairperson, no later than sixty days after receiving the request for approval and any other information deemed necessary by the chairperson, shall approve or disapprove the written instructions or approve them subject to modifications. Instructions approved by the chairperson under this subsection shall be conclusively deemed to comply with subsection (a).

(c) A manufacturer who violates subsection (a) shall be strictly liable in tort to an agricultural grower who suffers damages due to cross-pollination of the GMO seeds or crops with the grower's non-GMO seeds or crops. Any liability in tort of the grower of the genetically-modified crops shall be secondary to the primary strict liability of the manufacturer under this subsection. This subsection shall not limit any liability of the manufacturer under any cause of action not based upon this subsection. This subsection shall not be subject to waiver, by agreement or otherwise.

   -6 Notice to adjoining landowners; complaints to manufacturers. (a) An agricultural grower purchasing genetically-modified seeds in the State or for use in the State, at least ten calendar days prior to taking delivery of the seeds, shall provide to the seller a list of the names and addresses of all other agricultural growers using land located within 1,320 feet of the land upon which the genetically-modified crop seeds will be planted. The list shall also contain the name, address, and telephone number of the purchaser of the seeds.

(b) The seller, within twenty-four hours of receipt of the list, shall mail or otherwise transmit the list to the manufacturer of the genetically-modified seeds.

(c) The manufacturer of the genetically-modified seeds, within forty-eight hours of receipt of the list from the seller, shall mail to each person included on the list a written notice that complies with subsection (d).

(d) The written notice required under subsection (c) shall inform the recipient of the name, address, and telephone number of the prospective purchaser of genetically-modified seed and inform the recipient that the prospective purchaser intends to plant the seeds within 1,320 feet of land used by the recipient. The notice shall include or enclose a copy of the directions for avoiding cross-pollination or other contamination. The notice shall include a toll-free telephone number and state that the recipient may call that number to contact the manufacturer to ask questions or to register complaints about the purchaser's use of the seeds.

(e) The manufacturer of the genetically-modified seeds may transmit to the seller, no sooner than forty-eight hours after mailing the notices required under subsection (c), authorization to release or deliver the seeds to the purchaser. The seller shall not permit the purchaser to take delivery of the seeds prior to receipt of the authorization from the manufacturer.

(f) The manufacturer of genetically-modified seeds shall maintain a log of telephone calls and other communications received from persons to whom the manufacturer sent the notice required under subsection (c). This shall not apply to calls and communications not related to the subject of the notice.

(g) The manufacturer shall provide to the chairperson a summary of the telephone calls and other communications maintained pursuant to subsection (f) on at least a quarterly basis. The chairperson may prescribe a form for this purpose.

(h) The manufacturer shall investigate and attempt to resolve all complaints received under subsection (f).

(i) Any technology use agreement entered into between a manufacturer and a purchaser of genetically-modified seeds shall require that the purchaser comply with the instructions for avoiding cross-pollination and other contamination.

(j) A manufacturer of genetically-modified seeds shall not sell those seeds for use in the State except through sellers that have entered into an agreement with the manufacturer to comply with the obligations of sellers under this section."

SECTION 3. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.