“GMO OMG,” Jeremy Seifert’s plain-folks primer on genetically modified food, is pitched somewhere between the high-school student and the helicopter parent. Its central concern — that Americans are inadequately informed about the corporate manipulation of the food supply — may be valid, but its reliance on cute-kiddie silliness does little to fill that void. Even children as photogenic as Seifert’s are no substitute for rigorous research.
We must ignore, then, sequences like the one in which the youngsters frolic in a cornfield, dressed in the equivalent of hazmat suits, the better to understand the sources of their father’s anxieties: for example, that about 80 percent of processed food contains scientifically altered ingredients, and that most of it — contrary to the wishes of a majority of Americans — is unlabeled. Or that Monsanto and other producers of these modified goods have spent a great deal of money to ensure that things stay that way.
But to the informed consumer hoping for greater elucidation, Seifert’s partisan, oversimplified survey falls short. He barely touches on the science behind the genetically modified organisms that are introduced into the food; fails to excavate the economic, social and ethical ramifications of seed patenting; and leaves the complex provenance of anti-GMO movements unexamined.
In fairness to Seifert, that’s a lot to cram into a film. And if his not unreasonable goal is to provide a gentle, flyover alert to obliviously chowing-down citizens, then he does so without hectoring and with no small amount of charm.
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I told you those kids were cute.