RESISTANCE CINEMA Presents "GENETIC ROULETTE", a film by JEFFREY M. SMITH, Produced by The Institute For Responsible Technology, Directed by JEFFREY M. SMITH, narrated by LISA OZ, (2011, 85 minutes)
WHEN: Sunday March 24, 2013 1:15PM
WHERE: Community Church NY Gallery Room, 28 East 35th St. btwn Park & Madison Aves.
ADMISSION: Free, donations appreciated
Sometime ago the issue of nutrition and the quality of the American diet spread from the doctor’s office and entered the national political discourse. It is now firmly entrenched in our consciousness. New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on large soft drink sizes is just one example.
There are many subdivisions to this issue and Jeffrey M. Smith’s film “Genetic Roulette”, based on his book by the same name, is about one of them: the growing presence of GMOs or genetically modified organisms in our food supply. Are these really safe for humans to eat? What is the current state of research and what does it tell us? For Smith and The Institute For Responsible Technology the answer is an unhesitant NO. They are not safe and he has made this film to present his case for why he thinks so.
It’s a dense scientific subject so some basic facts should be presented first.
From “THE NON-GMO PROJECT”: - GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.
Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide.
Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe. In nearly 50 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs.
The film is an unyielding attack on the bio-tech industry, its leader the Monsanto Company and the FDA that too often allows corporate funded research to be the final word on food safety. Smith’s approach is to simply go down a list of accusations and make his case with testimony from an array of scientists, doctors, researchers, experts, farmers, chefs, and activists.
Genetically engineered foods are accused of being a major contributor to rising disease rates in the US population, especially among children. Gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, inflammatory diseases, and infertility are just some of the problems implicated in humans, pets, livestock, and lab animals that eat genetically modified soybeans and corn.
One study showed that GM corn causes massive tumors, liver damage and shortened life spans in rats. Other studies suggest a significant connection between GM food and the rise of birth defects, autism, allergies
He also covers broader social effects such as links to environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.
Smith’s condemnation of the FDA is particularly harsh, accusing it of ignoring the dangers of GMOs after a report by the Academy of Environmental Medicine stated "several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with genetically modified (GM) food, including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system." They suggested that the public avoid GM foods when possible.
Yet the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claimed they were unaware of any information that genetically modified food was substantially different from conventionally grown food -- thereby GM food did not need testing and was safe to eat.
Given the huge financial stakes involved and the tenacity of Monsanto and the bio-tech industry, it is not likely that this problem will be resolved anytime soon. With “Genetic Roulette”, Jeffrey Smith is determined that it will not be ignored.