Saturday, November 9, 2013

GMO OMG (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies


Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

No, it’s not alien crop circles that have farmers in a panic. It’s the genetically created seeds from Monsanto that have them and others worried. These so-called Frankenseeds are contaminating non-GMO crops. Taking the offensive, the food giant has been suing farmers with infected crops for stealing their patented seeds.

In return, the Public Patent Foundation filed suit on behalf of 270,000 people from sixty organic and sustainable businesses and trade associations, seeking to invalidate Monsanto’s patents on genetically modified seeds.

Some say this protest threatens a much-needed agricultural biotech revolution. Others see it as the global food system being hijacked. Advocacy groups such as Greenpeace argue that the risks of GMO food have not been adequately identified.

GMO (“genetically modified organisms”) refers to foods that have been genetically engineered to introduce changes into their DNA.

Commercial sale of genetically modified foods began in 1994, when Calgene first marketed its Flavr Savr tomatoes, a crop genetically altered to delay its ripening. Two years later Monsanto acquired a majority interest in the company.

Monsanto began aggressively moving into the vegetable seed arena in 2005 by acquiring California-based Seminis, giving it control over more than 30 percent of the North American vegetable seed market (as well as more than 20 percent of the world’s tomato seed market).

“GMO OMG” -- a new documentary playing at the Tropic Cinema -- makes the point that with genetically modified foods we are “unwittingly participating in the largest experiment ever conducted on human beings.”

Each of us unknowingly consumes genetically modified foods on a daily basis. Some groups are rallying for such foods to be labeled as such. Monsanto objects.

Director Jeremy Seifert offers a layman’s look at the world of industrial agriculture as he explores the loss of seed diversity and the potential risks from the genetic manipulation of food. In doing so, he tells the story of a father’s discovery of the impact of GMOs to his 3 young children.

“GMO OMG” will give you (ahem) food for thought, no matter what your position on genetically modified foods: a solution to the world food crisis or a hidden danger to our health.

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