The documentary does highlight that genetically modified food may be a necessity in our modern world. Supposedly, seeds that have been modified are more resilient to insects and pesticides, which is important to note because as of 2000 there was 5.1 billion pounds of pesticides being used in the U.S. The reason for this large quantity is because insects and weeds have been adapting to the older, weaker pesticides, so it has become more important to not only use more but the potency of these chemicals have been strengthened to the point that they'd probably kill off an average plant. Fields are now required to be "Round Up Ready" if they're to stand up against the forces of nature that'd kill or devour what is grown. It seems that without these hyper, super-powered chemicals we'd be facing plague levels of famine throughout the world as the U.S. is one of the largest food making countries, and without modified seeds the seeds would either die or the plants that grow from them would be heavily laced with dangerous chemicals.
Mr. Seifert, the documenter, does bring up an interesting counter point by showing organic farmers whose plants are thriving without being modified. He then explains that these claims of potential famine may be over exaggerated, and he mentions how many seed manufacturers have patents over their seeds. These patents mean that it is illegal for farmers to save and plant any seeds that may be gained after their harvest, so a farmer is forced to purchase what seed manufacturers make. These farmers are then coerced to buy modified seeds because they're an investment in the farmers' future yield. Farmers fear that without the modified seeds, and high octane chemicals, that they will not be capable of generating enough fruitful crops to compensate them for their efforts and feed the amount of people that rely on their production. In 1860, farmers made up 50% of our workforce, but now they're only 2%, so a lot of pressure to basically feed the world is placed on the shoulders of only a few people.
Seifert implies that a world without these two elements, modified seeds and chemicals, is possible, but he also admits that it is rather common for modified and unmodified plants to cross pollinate creating new seeds that are in actuality modified without people knowing at first glance. He also talks about how Round Up, probably the most common pesticide, can be found in random fields, lakes, streams, and inside of people throughout the U.S. These two aspects make me wonder if the world were to give up on GMOs and chemicals would we truly be able to escape their effects.
Overall, I found the documentary to be quite engaging, and I'd advise people to check it out if only to familiarize oneself with the issue of GMOs. Throughout my viewing experience, I kept thinking back to my own research. I thought about how much money food producers, manufacturers, and distributors save because of their use of genetically modified seeds. Honestly, I don't know if the money they save is worth the possible health effects that GMOs may be causing, but I think that GMOs will continue to be used because they basically assure that crops will grow and people will eat. I do hope that one day manufacturers will be forced to note whether their food has been modified and explain in what way. I feel like people have a right to know.
If only food manufacturers were this honest...