Genetically engineered food is the kind of thing that many people have an opinion on — food, after all, is an intimate part of who we are and how societies are defined. Some people blog about it, rally about it, educate about it. Others make documentaries. But which is the best GMO documentary?
The most rational way to approach this is to strip out ideology, agenda, and financial backing, and focus wholly on the science. The movie that best delves into the issues and the scientific consensus around the safety and potential of GMO foods is “Food Evolution.”
As its narrator, Neil deGrasse Tyson explains it, “The film explores all the ways science has been used and abused in public discourse surrounding the genetic engineering of food. In a world of misinformation and disinformation, nothing can be more timely.”
So much has been said about this movie (just look here and here and here), and it’s approach, scope, and integrity are to be commended. Here are “6 takeaways from seeing the movie” that we published following a screening in 2017.
While “Food Evolution” has positioned itself as perhaps the most prominent film exploration of GMOs to reach a sizable audience, there are many more that tackle the topic. Some have some real benefits, such as “Well Fed,” which follows scientist and a GMO skeptic on a journey to see what, if any, positives biotechnology offers to the agricultural industry. This film is available for free on Vimeo. Other films such as “Food, Inc.” have been called compelling in the narrative it produces but incomplete in its discussion of our modern food system. Still others, such as “The Future of Food,” failed to make any effort to be balanced and have been resoundingly rejected by most modern farmers and those involved in the agricultural industry.
The best practice is to do your research before watching any food or farming documentary and be prepared to think about the context of the details it presents.