House lawmakers were debating the bill Monday, which proposes mandatory labeling of any genetically modified agricultural commodity sold in Hawaii.
Advocates say people deserve to know whether their food is genetically modified so they can make informed choices about what to buy and eat.
Opponents argue the labels will drive up food costs and there are no nutritional differences between food grown naturally and food that has been modified.
Labeling for genetically modified food has stirred controversy in states nationwide. A ballot measure to require labeling of genetically modified food in California was defeated last November after opponents spent $46 million in negative advertising.