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Genetic Roulette Movie Showings - Building Concern over GMOS

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This article comes from the NOFA/Massachusetts 2013 May Issue Newsletter

by Jack Kittredge NOFA/Mass Policy Director

Genetic Roulette

Over the past few months I have conducted public showings
of the movie Genetic Roulette for NOFA/Mass some dozen
times, in towns from Greenfield to Milton, from North
Brookfield to Hingham. Attendance has varied, from less
than a dozen to 85. Sometimes I set up for free and collect
donations at the door. Sometimes a group will sponsor the
showing for a $100 honorarium.
 
Jeffrey Smith, last year’s NOFA Summer Conferencekeynoter, directed this powerful movie. It raises the question
of whether the presence of GMO foods, increasing in the American diet since 1996, with their novel proteins (to whichour immune systems have not become accustomed), hasresulted in an epidemic of inflammatory diseases.
 
A number of doctors, clinicians,nutritionists, and other practitioners speak about their experiences with clients suffering from leaky guts, allergies, autoimmune diseases, autism, and other such conditions.They testify that thesimple act of weaning these patients from GMO foods and getting them onto organic and non-GMO diets has resulted in miraculous “cures”. We also hear from parents with autistic or highly allergic children, and from farmers who have been feeding GMO feed to livestock.
 
Their experiences are the same: debilitating disease until they eliminate the GMO food. Then, rapid improvement. After the film ends I normally get 15 or 20 minutes of
questions from people. Many are quite grateful for seeing the movie and speak of finally understanding something that
had been baffling them about the health of someone in their family. Others are angry that our government capitulated
to the biotech industry in 1992 and refused to require any health or safety testing of these novel foods before allowing
them into the food supply. Yet others are concerned about
the future of the seed supply itself in the face of growing
contamination of pure seed with GMO pollen.
 
Once or twice I have had attendees who appear to be
proponents of agricultural biotech try to suggest the movie
isn’t based on sound science. They have had no answer,
however, when I agree there is little in the way of peer
reviewed studies in American journals (though more has
been published in Europe) but point out that biotech
licenses here specifically forbid using GMO seeds for
research. Any professor who bought GMO corn or soy
to feed to test animals would be infringing a patent and
their institution could be sued. Why, I ask, would such
a provision be placed in a license? Are the companies
worried about what might be found?
 
Ultimately most people talk about the two possible solutions to this dilemma – the private one of removing
GMOs from their diet, and the public one of passing legislation to label GMO foods. Neither is simple.
 
• GMOs are widely used in processed foods and folksinterested in avoiding themhave either to carefullypurchase only foods labeled“organic” or “Non-GMOVerified”, or make theirown soups, stir-fries, saladdressings, sauces, etc. fromsimple ingredients. The problem is even worse for pets and livestock as cornand soy are the primarycomponents of most animal feeds, and unless labeled as “organic” they are certain to be GMO.
 
• Labeling legislation, especially at the state level, is fraught with legal complexities, including the threat of federal preemption and the virtual certainty of Constitutional
challenges on several grounds, especially claiming that “compelling speech” by requiring GMO labels violates the
First Amendment rights of the food companies. If you would like a showing in your area, contact me
at 978-355-2853 or jack@nofamass.org. I am happy to conduct a showing any day of the week and have all the
equipment necessary to show it. You just need a room big enough for the audience and to handle publicity. I can
even send you a nice color poster to put up around town. NOFA/Mass wants me to break even on this program, so
I need an average of $100 per showing. If a local group wants to subsidize the event, that is great. If not, I can
come on a “donation suggested” basis and try to raise the money at the door.
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