Scientist discusses working on Food Evolution movie

A scientist involved in a movie about genetically modified food says many don’t understand what GM is, let alone the benefits.  Alison VanEenennaam says, “Really, it’s a breeding method, and I think the public sector applications for things like disease resistance have very compelling societal benefits that I think most people can relate to.  I don’t think we want plants and animals getting sick, and if we can solve that problem genetically rather than using chemicals, I think people get that.”

VanEenennaam is a geneticist at the University of California.  She tells Brownfield there is a lot of unnecessary fear about eating genetically modified food.  “The safety around GM (Genetically Modified) has been established and is, you know, agreed on by every major scientific society in the world and yet we’ve got the vast majority of consumers that don’t believe that.”

VanEenennaam says consumers are not very aware with how GM technology has benefited agriculture and world food supplies.  “The dramatic drop for example in insecticide use globally due to insect-protected crops, and those types of benefits never seem to make it to the press.  You only hear about the risks and not the amazing benefits.”

She says many people skeptical of GM products talked to her after seeing Food Evolution.  “I think what’s been really encouraging to me as a science communicator is that they’ve come up to me after the movie and said, ‘I love that movie. It made me think and I’m going to go home and do some more research.’  And, that to me is like a win.”

VanEenennaam says Hollywood doesn’t have the best reputation with agriculture and science, naming Food Inc. and Jurassic Park as examples, but says the producers working on Food Evolution were using science and objective evidence for decision making, which she supports.

Food Evolution is being shown in theatres on a limited release and is also on Hulu, YouTube, and I-Tunes.

VanEenennaam talked to Brownfield before a screening of the movie held during a Professional Dairy Producers seminar in Wisconsin.

Alison VanEenennaam discusses the Food Evolution movie with Brownfield’s Larry Lee.

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