A recently released documentary, Food Evolution, takes on the controversy around GMOs and food. The film shows how easily misinformation and fear can take hold over science and objective analysis.
A new interview with director Scott Hamilton Kennedy explains the importance of the film.
“The best part for me as a storyteller was that, while it was controversial, the GMO story wasn’t being told correctly,” Kennedy said. So he re-told it from a new angle: instead of pro-GMO or pro-organic, simply pro-science.
The most interesting thing about the GMO debate, Kennedy noted, is that both sides have the best of intentions. “Both sides want food that’s safe and sustainable,” he said. “But you have to have data to back up your intentions.”
The film hinges around two narratives: papaya in Hawaii and bananas in Uganda. Both stories involve GMO bans being lifted when the technology saved virus-stricken crops. In Hawaii, failing to beat the papaya ring spot virus would have meant an industry going under, farmers losing their livelihoods, and consumers paying much more for the fruit or not being able to buy it at all.
As he notes, the misinformation around GMOs is problematic for those in developing countries. Recent developments like GM bananas can combat vitamin deficiencies in nations reliant on bananas as a staple crop, as this recent article notes.
“Misinformation originates in the rich world, and it’s damaging the interests of the poor world,” he said.
Read the full interview here!