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Documentary aims to show impact of GM food industry

Thursday, January 25, 2007 by: M.T. Whitney
Tags: GMO, genetically modified foods, farming

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(NewsTarget) Genetically modified foods have infiltrated our crops and may turn the world of agriculture upside-down, argues the 2004 film "The Future of Food."

The documentary, created by Deborah Koons Garcia -- the last wife of the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia -- investigates the impact on agriculture as the corporations that are creating genetically modified foods have strengthened over the past decade. One company, Monsanto, the creator of Roundup herbicide, is a focal point.

"Basically, the U.S. pesticide industry bought the seed industry," explains Charles M. Benbrook, former director of the board of agriculture at the National Academy of Science.

By owning the rights to seeds, using patents, companies have the ability to create a variety of foods -- but also legally disallow anyone else to grow them.

The impact on the farming industry is remarkable, as it allows corporations to sue farmers for patent infringement for growing regular foods that get accidentally cross-pollinated with patented seeds.

That was what happened to Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser, who never asked for genetically modified seeds to accidentally root in his land: He was sued for growing patented plants from seeds that he did not put on his property. His case, which he lost to Monsanto's patent infringement lawyers, made it all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The film also interviews Mexican farmers, who have found their crops of corn a staple for the Mexican diet becoming mixed with "American seed," a less-desirable, genetically modified strain of corn.

"There are three or four applications for patents for tortillas -- like it is a new thing, like somebody has invented tortillas," one concerned scientist from Mexico said.

Biotechnology has made massive leaps and bounds in the past 12 years. The film argues whether this is a good thing, looking at how genetically modified food, which has insecticide chemicals built in, affect the humans who consume it. In addition, unlike countries in the European Union, the United States does not require genetically modified food to be labeled as such.

"I think this is the largest biological experiment that humanity has ever entered into," one interviewee says on the film.

"This is a must-see documentary for anyone concerned about the health of future generations. I highly recommend it," said Mike Adams, a natural health advocate and author.


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