Have you heard the term GMO? Most people have, but may not know exactly what they are. The film Genetic Roulette, explains not only what a GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) is, but also gives some background and presents issues surrounding GMOs. The film starts with the statement that since the mid 1990′s, Americans are sicker than Europeans. Not the kind of statement you want to hear, but hear you must.
As the film progresses, what GMOs are and how they affect our bodies unfold. The film makes links between GMO use and the many diseases that are on the rise. It also sheds light on the unsettling, in my opinion, links between business and the government.
Most documentaries have interviews with experts. This film is entirely “interview” format. No voice overs explaining and making connections. While I was impressed with the number of experts interviewed for this film and the amazing way it was edited to explain in a logical fashion, I did find the format difficult to follow at times. There is a lot of information in this film! Some of it I was familiar with so I could absorb most of it. But for the truly “new to GMOs”, it might be too much information and be overwhelming.
This is what I liked best about the film. Not only do they explain GMOs so you can decide for yourself whether you want to be eating them or not, but if you choose not, they also give resources for avoiding GMOs.
Genetic Roulette: Film Exposes GMO Health Risks
Jeffrey Smith certainly qualifies as an authority on the subject of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). He has been monitoring them since their initial release in the early nineties. Through his organization, the Institute for Responsible Technology, Smith has been a steady activist, author and speaker on the subject, providing a public-oriented alternative view to corporate assurances. With his new documentary Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives, Smith now adds the profession of filmmaker—exposing widespread GMO health risks.
“I’ve been sitting on some of this footage for a while, but also gathering additional data from the individuals themselves who switched to non-GMO diets and reported dramatic successes, as well as from farmers and veterinarians who took livestock and pets off of GMOs and saw similar dramatic improvements in similar categories.
“What we noted was that the same categories of diseases that the American Academy of Environmental Medicine identified as accompanying laboratory animals fed GMOs were among the disorders that were improving in livestock and humans that switched to non-GMO diets. These were also the same types of disorders and diseases that were on the rise in the US population. I felt like we now had sufficient data points, case studies and intelligence to share a new level of evidence of harm from GMOs.”
A Comprehensive View
While Genetic Roulette presents considerable new data, it also goes into the history and basic facts of genetic modification. The film details its origins and the cover-ups that occurred right at the outset, the considerable liabilities brought to farming, viewpoints from many experts in medicine and agriculture, and the current tipping point at which we now find ourselves.
“I think this movie is dedicated primarily to those who eat,” Smith said, laughing. “For those who don’t eat it’s not as important, unless they know someone who eats.”
The new information presented in Genetic Roulette deals with human health risks. But the promising news that Smith has uncovered is the speed at which people suffering from many disorders brought about by GMOs can recover, once they are put on non-GMO diets.
Smith gave us some signal examples. “I interviewed a number of patients of two doctors in Chicago, asking them about the impacts when they switched to non-GMO diets,” he related. “One described how her irritable bowel syndrome disappeared in four weeks; for another it was gone in a week and a half. A third person had been on the diet for 25 days, and within 3 days her Crohn’s disease of 30 years had disappeared, she had lost 10 pounds, skin problems had started to clear up, and mental fog was going away. A 12-year-old had stopped using his asthma inhaler and had no incidents of asthma and no incidents of migraine headaches, which he had been struggling with at a very debilitating level. We had doctors telling us that the patients were getting rid of allergies,
asthma, depression, gastrointestinal disorders and more.”
As shown in the documentary, these same sorts of issues also dissipated with animals that had been on GMO feed. “When animals were switched from GM soy and corn to non-GM soy and corn in livestock situations, similar disorders cleared up in the animals just as they did with the humans,” Smith added.
The simplest solution to GMOs is, of course, clear labeling of food that contains them. While 19 states have introduced bills for labeling of GMOs, California is the first to actually have it on the ballot. As pointed out in Genetic Roulette, the entire world is watching California. Because of this, Smith is currently traversing the state in promotion of the proposition.
“Right now we’re over 40 points ahead in the polls for California,” Smith said. “We haven’t yet seen the unveiling or unleashing of the disinformation campaign that’s being prepared by the biotech industry; so one of the ways that the Institute for Responsible Technology is contributing to general consumer education about GMOs—which hopefully will antidote the myths and lies of the biotech industry—is by releasing the film in California and encouraging people to watch it.
“We have been touring the state, providing accurate information about GMOs and their risks, which not only has garnered some media coverage but also has empowered the audience members to be more active. To me what is always appropriate, important and urgent in the GMO situation is accurate in-depth education to as many consumers as possible.”
The initial promotional premise of GMOs—still being pushed today by the biotech industry—was that they would feed the world, improve exports, reduce agricultural chemicals, and that they were completely safe for human consumption.
“They’ve been absolutely proven wrong,” Smith argued. “The data from the USDA and other sources demonstrate without a doubt a dramatic increase in herbicide use. I’m speaking from independent data and analyses. GMOs on average reduce yield—that’s well documented. Real experts at feeding the world were reflected in a report signed on by 58 countries, supported by the UN and written by over 400 scientists: they concluded that GMOs have nothing to offer on feeding the hungry world, eradicating poverty or establishing sustainable agriculture. And then we’ve done a good job demonstrating that GMOs have never had sufficient data to be justified for introduction into the food chain. There’s more evidence than ever that they should be immediately withdrawn.”