Worth the Watch: GMO OMG

Since ending my compulsive binge watch of all ten seasons of Friends (thanks Netflix for deciding my second to last quarter of my senior year of college to finally release the series- I digress), I’ve gone back to my old hobby of searching for interesting documentaries to watch on Netflix.

There are a lot. Based off what you’re interested or intrigued about there’s probably roughly 20+ documentaries about the subject. One of my personal favorites are the documentaries on food. I’ve watched about 8 so far and have just recently watched one of my new favorites. It’s called GMO OMG (clever title, I know), and here’s why.

1) It’s relatable: The filmmaker is a dad just concerned with the overall health of his family. He investigates grocery stores like Whole Foods and restaurants like McDonald’s and Subway. Because he is coming from the viewpoint of concerned parent, the whole documentary has a more relatable feel to it, only enhancing it’s effects.

2) It’s dumbed down: Now a lot of food documentaries on Netflix aren’t trying to confuse you and want you to be informed, but this one does a particularly good job of trying to create a concise and correct definition of what a GMO actually is. For food documentaries I feel this is where a lot of them have their weakness- because to those of us who aren’t nutritionists or spend our days studying food it’s difficult to understand what half of the chemical terms and -cides they use on crops these days.

3) It’s traveling to Haiti: I absolutely loved the segment on Haiti trying to eliminate the “gift” they were given by Monsanto. Not only did I not know there was a revolution in Haiti against the corporate giant, but the revolution was one of the most inspiring segments of the documentary. It’s easy to forget when watching these food documentaries that we have agency. As consumers we can decide what we do and don’t want to eat. The Haiti section highlights this agency. It’s powerful stuff. And the burning of the seeds is not only symbolic but pretty bad ass considering Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Yet- there they were, burning GMO seeds because even without the fancy science to back it up, the Haitian’s can teach us a thing or two about knowing what’s good and what’s bad for you.

4) It’s not trying to be hasty: Other food documentaries I’ve watched are quick to point the blame for the overall decline of human health on these large corporations. While I’m not here to disagree with that statement, I found that this documentary does a better job of exploring the question in a less biased approach. Obviously the filmmaker is concerned, but he’s concerned in a way that his mission is to understand why. For me, this is a critical distinction in making a documentary about food especially when it comes to dealing with the tricky situation of GMO’s. It’s stated several times that are GMO’s good for us or are they bad for us…but no definitive conclusion is made in the end. I don’t find this to be a weakness but rather a testament to how there really is an inconclusive area as to whether GMO’s are going to be the end of us and if they’re truly the only sources poisoning our foods.

5) It’s not out to bore you: You don’t have to listen to a million and one “experts” and “farmers” (I put in quotes because today they sound to me more like slaves to the corporations), but rather the filmmaker pushes a more eclectic film style, mixing in interviews with his own children and the ways in which he tries to teach them about GMO’s with the interviews with the “experts”, “farmers”, and those lovely politicians.

After watching this documentary I will say I will only be buying organic meats and fish from now on as well as striving to not eat anything with canola oil. I never really liked corn much anyways and don’t eat it in my college diet so not eating the vegetable in it’s “natural” state won’t be much of a problem to avoid. As if I wasn’t already crazy obsessive over my food labels while grocery shopping….

All in all, if you’ve got 84 minutes on your hands, a Netflix account that hasn’t been used in a while (you know, like a few hours), I strongly suggest adding this to your “Must Watch” list this year. A little perspective on GMO’s ultimately in the end makes us all better, smarter consumers.

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