Former City Council Member Tom Berg
Tom Berg - Photo: Emily Metcalf

REPORT FROM COUNCIL MEMBER TOM BERG – NOTE TO FDA FROM HONOLULU: LABEL FOODS GENETICALLY MODIFIED

There used to be a day when canned food and packaged produce lacked a listing of ingredients such as trans fats; dairy along with other perishables – were void of expiration dates; presence of allergens and additives, from artificial to all natural were omitted on the label; and now, pink slime in meat has the consumer wanting more protections. Our right to know has evolved to benefit the consumer, but the fight is not over and more needs to be done.

Take bread for example. Just last year, Ewa Beach Representative Kymberly Pine voted against your right to know if freshly baked bread should be identified separately from bread that was previously frozen and then sold as fresh. Her argument was that by putting a label on bread for the consumer to make an informed decision, such a mandate to label bread as previously frozen would hurt the economy, put people out of work, and make bread unaffordable whereby people would have to go without it to survive.

This same scare tactic is being used by numerous politicians to keep us from knowing what we are buying and subsequently eating when it comes to genetically modified or genetically engineered organisms (GMO) put in our food.

If you simply just want the right to know what is in your food, and you want government to mandate labeling laws to include GMO, I am proud to share with you that a big step in that direction happened right here on Oahu at the city council meeting on May 9.

The city council passed resolution 12-57 FD1 by a vote of 7 to 2 to urge the Federal Food and Drug Administration to let us know if GMO’s are in our food.

TRAVELING PETTING ZOOS AND PONY RIDES

There are ways to protect health and safety and still allow a child to pet a goat, a pig, a calf, chase a chicken or ride a pony in a city park. Currently, the activity of petting zoos and pony rides within city parks are illegal.

Roughly a decade ago, there were businesses thriving on the island that brought their ponies and petting zoos to community fairs and birthday parties. Bill 43 is a measure I introduced to bring those days back where certain animals and ponies can frequent our parks after the organizer executes a permit indemnifying the city and ensuring the animals are not a threat to public health or safety.

The measure passed first reading on May 9.

I am hoping Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard, the chair of the committee on Safety, Economic Development and Government Affairs, hears the bill on May 22.

ROADSIDE MEMORIALS ON CITY ROADS

The city lacks rules and guidelines for roadside memorials. To keep the discussion going and find resolve, Bill 45 needs to be scheduled for a hearing in the Transportation Committee. The bill passed first reading on May 9. The next committee date for the Transportation Committee is May 24 and I hope the measure is put on the agenda for a vote. One reason for what prompted me to introduce the bill can be seen in a news story by clicking here. Details on the bill itself was covered on the news – watch it below.

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