Thursday, February 18, 2016

Journal Four: Dillan

GMO OMG was quite the interesting documentary. Prior to watching the film, I didn't have a clue about what GMOs were, and I can't honestly say I know exactly what a GMO is after finishing the film. Not knowing what exactly goes into these genetically modified food sources may be the point of the whole film though. Apparently, food companies are not legally obligated to openly reveal whether or not their products have been infused with or effected by GMOs, and those businesses that do admit that they use them refuse to tell what exactly is being used to modify their food. As I watched, I tried to keep an open mind over the subject.
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...


  1. I agree in the fact that I too hope one day companies in the U.S. are required to label whether their product has been GMO modified or not. Looking at the comparison we were given between organic and commercial farming, I feel as though there is a necessity to inform all farmers on the subject so that we can actually steer away from a GMO heavy society and back to organic, healthy foods that are not dangerous for anyone to eat. One thing that really shocked me from the film was them finding Round-out in human urine. This definitely cannot be healthy as the amount of the chemical you would have to consume for it to be present in urinalysis tests could definitely have ill effects on our body. I highly believe that if these chemicals were out-lawed and we made our move back to traditional farming methods that the world would not starve but in fact flourish. Maybe diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer would not be as nearly prevalent as they have been the past two decades.

  2. Labeling food as genetically modified is something that I agree with, it is the fear that sales will deplete because of the negative connotations associated with "genetically modified organisms" that has become a label in itself. What is more important than labeling simply, "genetically modified organism", is how the food has been modified. Was the corn cross-bred with other another strain of corn creating a new hybrid naturally, or was genetic engineering at play to change the make-up of the corn's genome. In both instances it has been "modified", the context of that modification is important.

  3. This documentary really made me think about our priorities as a country. We are very stuck in our ways in many different areas of discussion, and as thousands of people die from cancers and other various diseases, it really makes me wonder if the answer to our questions are right in front of us. I feel like the reason that these companies are hiding things from us, is to keep us from knowing what they are doing to our food supply. While a food revolution is extremely risky, we just have to ask ourselves if it's really worth it. Overall, I do agree with you though, why can't we know? Once we as a whole start to question what they're telling us, we could really get somewhere.


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