“This short, 3-minute video is the perfect way to introduce new people to the subject of GMOs,” reads the description of a new “public service announcement” from NaturalNews.com. While an informative, 180-second breakdown of the issues behind the GMO debate would be a great thing to have, this video is more propaganda than PSA.
The information in the video is all factually true, but context is sorely lacking. For example, the spot gives insecticide-producing GMO corn as an example of a transgene crop, and while such a product does indeed exist, the far more broadly planted GE corn and soy is modified to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate. But as a scepter of unnatural, corporatized evilness, corn-as-pesticide-factory is far scarier than a plant that can simply withstand the external application of weed killer.
The video’s emphasis on health issues is similarly worrying. While there has been research that shows ill effects in rats and livestock fed on GMO grains, the studies have been widely refuted. Frustrating as this may be to some in the anti-GMO crowd, there’s no good science supporting the belief that conusming GE foods is dangerous.
Ah, but in farming—that’s where there are real, substantive problems. Farmers need to license seeds; resistant crops beget resistant weeds; altered genes can drift into neighboring fields, contaminating non-GMO crops or rewriting the genomes of heirloom varieties that represent thousands of years of agricultural and cultural development.
But the video doesn’t touch on these issues. Instead, it goes with a cursory account of the zombie wheat case, which the narrator describes as GMO wheat “contaminating commercial fields.” That very weird incident involved a handful of plants growing in an isolated, fallow field, and while that could be described as “contaminating commercial fields,” such a description makes it sound like a much larger, dramatic occurrence—which is simply not the case.
To its credit, the NaturalNews video tells viewers to look for the USDA Organic seal if they want to buy GMO-free products—one piece of good information in an otherwise inflammatory clip.