Viewpoint: Pseudo-science alert—Zac Efron’s ‘Down to Earth’ Netflix series spreads anti-GMOs myths

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Zac Efron doesn’t say much except “Dude” and “Wow” in his Netflix docu-series Down to Earth. It’s a mostly innocuous show. If you’re the type of person who’s into the actor’s buff, scruffy bro-dude schtick and you like glossy travel content with a sustainability ethos, Down to Earth is the perfect hangover binge, for example.

But in pursuit of global wellness, Efron and his cohost Darin Olien, a wellness expert and self-described “superfood hunter,” push some pretty flimsy pseudoscience.

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In the episode set in Puerto Rico, a farmer tells Efron and Olien to drink goat’s milk directly from the teat because it comes out pasteurized. That’s not true; it comes out naturally homogenized, which means it doesn’t separate into a cream layer like cow’s milk and doesn’t need to be mixed. But consuming any unpasteurized dairy can expose you to dangerous pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella. Basically, it’s a really bad idea ….

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Similarly, a beekeeper in New York tells Efron that genetically engineered crops are a “systemic poison” to the helpful bugs. (Not true. Some GM crops have actually reduced the need for harmful insecticides.) When they land in France, Olien tells Efron that putting his bare feet on the ground will reset his circadian rhythm. (There’s no evidence for that; the proven way to combat jetlag is through light exposure and eating at local meal times.)

Related article:  For studies on GMO food safety, does length matter?

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