Print

Print


I’ve not been following the golden rice saga in detail; however, I tend to agree with Greenpeace that there are other and healthier ways of ensuring that children get vitamin A. And there was this controversy about published research on the rice last year:
NATURE | NEWS
Sharinga.. 
   a.. 
   a.. 
China sacks officials over Golden Rice controversy
Chinese families did not give consent for children to consume genetically modifed rice in the part US-funded study.

  a.. Jane Qiu10 December 2012
Article toolsChina has sacked three officials for breaching Chinese laws and ethical regulations during a trial in which children were fed genetically modified rice.

The trial’s legitimacy was questioned in August by the environmental group Greenpeace. A three-month investigation, led by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), culminated in the decision on 6 December to sack two members of the CDC’s own staff — Yin Shi’an, the principal investigator of the Chinese arm of the project, in Beijing, and Hu Yuming at the CDC's regional office in Hunan province, where the study took place — as well as Wang Yin, head of science and technology at the Zhejiang Academy of Medical Sciences.

The genetically modified rice strain at the centre of the controversy is engineered to produce β-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, with the aim of fighting vitamin A deficiency in developing countries. It has been dubbed Golden Rice because of its bright yellow colour.

The trial was designed to test how efficiently the β-carotene is converted to the vitamin once ingested. The US study team was led by Guangwen Tang, a nutrition scientist at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, and was part-funded by the US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the US Department of Agriculture.

According to a paper published online by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on 1 August, each group of two dozen or so children aged six to eight ate meals containing Golden Rice, spinach or β-carotene capsules for lunch every week day during the three-week trial1.

But none of the children, their parents or school teachers was aware that Golden Rice was involved, according to a 45-minute investigative news programme broadcast on 8 December on CCTV, China’s state television channel.

The informed-consent form said that the rice contained β-carotene, but not that it was genetically modified or that it was Golden Rice. Nor did it highlight uncertainty around any potential risks of ingesting such rice.

"Too sensitive"
The CCTV programme disclosed an email sent by Yin to Tang in which the CDC official said that he had changed the wording to avoid mentioning Golden Rice because it was “too sensitive”.

Moreover, Wang didn’t apply for ethical evaluation of the trial, instead fabricating the approval documents, according to CDC. And Tang brought Golden Rice from the United States to China illegally, without due declaration to the relevant Chinese authorities, it said.

Both Yin and Wang admitted in the documentary that they had wanted to save time and push the project through, and said they did not realise how serious the matter was. Tang did not respond to Nature’s request for comments. Tufts University spokeswoman Andrea Grossman said in an official statement that “it would be premature for Tufts University to reach any conclusions before investigations currently underway in the United States are completed”.

The incident has outraged the families of children who ate the Golden Rice. Some have refused to accept the 80,000-yuan compensation and have demanded a guarantee that the rice will not affect their children’s health. “If it’s safe, why did they need to deceive us into this?” said one angry father in the CCTV program.

Serious offence
The development of genetically modified rice enjoys strong government support in China, but the public remains sceptical about its safety. Incidents such as this “could seriously erode public trust and taint the reputation of research on genetically modified crops,” says Lu Baorong, an ecologist who studies the environmental safety of genetically modified crops at Fudan University in Shanghai.

Critics note that discrepancies remain over the full details of the trial. For instance, the CDC's investigation revealed that the children ate Golden Rice just once during the study — and not  lunch every day during the three-week study as the paper states.

“How much Golden Rice did the children have exactly?” asks Wang Zheng, a policy researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Policy and Management in Beijing. “Either the researchers are lying about this now or they lied about it in their paper. It’s a serious offence either way.”

  Nature  doi:10.1038/nature.2012.11998
From: David Schwartzman 
Sent: Saturday, November 02, 2013 2:31 PM
To: [log in to unmask] 
Subject: Re: Standing Up for Golden Rice

This Science editorial is shameless propaganda for corporate-driven false solutions to malnutrition.

Here is a rebuttal:

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/agriculture/problem/genetic engineering/Greenpeace-and-Golden-Rice/
Golden Rice  Background - March 1, 2013 
The so-called 'Golden' rice marketed by the biotech industry is a rice variety genetically engineered (GE) to produce pro-vitamin A. Its proponents say this GE rice could solve the problems of Vitamin A deficiency (which can lead to blindness) in developing countries. 

1. Greenpeace opposes the release of GE crops, including 'Golden' rice, into the environment.

2. Greenpeace believes that 'Golden' rice is not an answer to Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) and malnutrition, and diverts resources away from dealing with the real underlying causes of VAD, which are mainly poverty and lack of access to a more diverse diet.

3. Greenpeace believes that money spent on fighting Vitamin A deficiency should be channelled into programs that are already working, such as the promotion of home-gardening and pills.

Greenpeace believes that by combating Vitamin A deficiency with home gardens, sustainable systems are created that provide food security and diversity in a way that is empowering women and protects agro-diversity.




More information:




GE 'Golden' rice is undoubtedly one of the most ecologically dangerous ways to address Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD). In the long term, the single-crop approach of GE rice may be a serious threat to food security. GE rice does not address the underlying causes of VAD, which are mainly poverty and lack of access to a more diverse diet. This rice is an untested and superficial technological fix that may generate new problems.

Vitamin A rice could, if introduced on a large scale, exacerbate malnutrition and ultimately undermine food security because it encourages a diet based on one staple rather than increase access to the many vitamin-rich food plants. These plants would address a wide variety of micronutrient deficiencies, not just VAD.

Despite all the hype about ‘Golden' rice, it still remains unproven whether daily consumption of ‘Golden' rice would actually improve the vitamin A status of people who are vitamin A deficient (1).




Solutions:

The solutions to fight Vitamin A deficiency, multi-nutritional deficiencies and malnutrition, are known, available and cost effective, what is lacking however is the political will and determination to put them in place.

In the past decade, great progress has been made on Vitamin A deficiency and other malnutrition problems. For example, Vitamin A deficiency is currently being successfully tackled by a combination of supplementation and home gardening in Bangladesh (2), where it was considered one of the worst public health problems 20 years ago. By looking at the root causes of the problem, a range of projects such as home gardens can eradicate not only VAD, but tackled all other nutrients and malnutrition in the same instance.

For a better understanding of Greenpeace position on 'Golden' rice, please refer to our briefing 'Golden Illusion' and report 'Lack of Lustre.'

 

1. IRRI, 21st February, 2013. Clarifying recent news about Golden Rice. http://www.irri.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=12483&lang=en  

2. UNICEF: http://www.unicef.org/bangladesh/health_nutrition_444.htm 




On Sat, Nov 2, 2013 at 7:41 AM, S. E. Anderson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

  Standing Up for Golden Rice

  Scientists speak out against the destruction of experimental fields of Golden Rice, a new type of rice that contains beta carotene, a source of vitamin A with the potential to reduce vitamin A deficiency and resulting blindness in the Philippines and Bangladesh.

  NOTE: Golden Rice is being developed and evaluated to help address vitamin A deficiency. Is this a good thing? Or another variation on the corporate model of agribusiness hellbent on profit maximization over Humanity and Nature?-- SEA

  1 Standing Up for GMOs
  2 Activists Destroy 'Golden Rice' Field Trial

  Science 20 September 2013:

  Vol. 341 no. 6152 p. 1320
  DOI: 10.1126/science.1245017

  EDITORIAL: Standing Up for GMOs

  Bruce Alberts(1), Roger Beachy(2), David Baulcombe(3), Gunter Blobel(4), Swapan Datta(5), Nina Fedoroff(6), Donald Kennedy(7), Gurdev S. Khush(8), Jim Peacock(9), Martin Rees(10), Phillip Sharp(11)

  1 Bruce Alberts is President Emeritus of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and former Editor-in-Chief of Science.

  2 Roger Beachy is a Wolf Prize laureate; President Emeritus of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis, MO, USA; and former director of the U.S. National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

  3 David Baulcombe is a Wolf Prize laureate and Royal Society Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences of the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK. He receives research funding from Syngenta and is a consultant for Syngenta.

  4 Gunter Blobel is a Nobel laureate and the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Professor at the Rockefeller University, New York, NY, USA.

  5 Swapan Datta is Deputy Director General (Crop Science) of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, India; the Rash Behari Ghosh Chair Professor at Calcutta University, India; and a former scientist at ETH-Zurich, Switzerland, and at IRRI, Philippines.

  6 Nina Fedoroff is a National Medal of Science laureate; a Distinguished Professor at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia; an Evan Pugh Professor at Pennylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA; and former President of AAAS.

  7 Donald Kennedy is President Emeritus of Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA, and former Editor-in-Chief of Science.

  8 Gurdev S. Khush is a World Food Prize laureate, Japan Prize laureate, and former scientist at IRRI, Los Baños, Philippines.

  9 Jim Peacock is a former Chief Scientist of Australia and former Chief of the Division of Plant Industry at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Canberra, Australia.

  10 Martin Rees is President Emeritus of the Royal Society, Fellow of Trinity College, and Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

  11 Phillip Sharp is a Nobel laureate; an Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA; and President of AAAS.

  On 8 August 2013, vandals destroyed a Philippine "Golden Rice" field trial. Officials and staff of the Philippine Department of Agriculture that conduct rice tests for the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) had gathered for a peaceful dialogue. They were taken by surprise when protesters invaded the compound, overwhelmed police and village security, and trampled the rice. Billed as an uprising of farmers, the destruction was actually carried out by protesters trucked in overnight in a dozen jeepneys.

  The global scientific community has condemned the wanton destruction of these field trials, gathering thousands of supporting signatures in a matter of days.* If ever there was a clear-cut cause for outrage, it is the concerted campaign by Greenpeace and other nongovernmental organizations, as well as by individuals, against Golden Rice. Golden Rice is a strain that is genetically modified by molecular techniques (and therefore labeled a genetically modified organism or GMO) to produce β-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A. Vitamin A is an essential component of the light-absorbing molecule rhodopsin in the eye. Severe vitamin A deficiency results in blindness, and half of the roughly half-million children who are blinded by it die within a year. Vitamin A deficiency also compromises immune system function, exacerbating many kinds of illnesses. It is a disease of poverty and poor diet, responsible for 1.9 to 2.8 million preventable deaths annually, mostly of children under 5 years old and women.†

  Rice is the major dietary staple for almost half of humanity, but white rice grains lack vitamin A. Research scientists Ingo Potrykus and Peter Beyer and their teams developed a rice variety whose grains accumulate β-carotene. It took them, in collaboration with IRRI, 25 years to develop and test varieties that express sufficient quantities of the precursor that a few ounces of cooked rice can provide enough β-carotene to eliminate the morbidity and mortality of vitamin A deficiency.‡ It took time, as well, to obtain the right to distribute Golden Rice seeds, which contain patented molecular constructs, free of charge to resource-poor farmers.

  The rice has been ready for farmers to use since the turn of the 21st century, yet it is still not available to them. Escalating requirements for testing have stalled its release for more than a decade. IRRI and PhilRice continue to patiently conduct the required field tests with Golden Rice, despite the fact that these tests are driven by fears of "potential" hazards, with no evidence of actual hazards. Introduced into commercial production over 17 years ago, GM crops have had an exemplary safety record. And precisely because they benefit farmers, the environment, and consumers, GM crops have been adopted faster than any other agricultural advance in the history of humanity.

  New technologies often evoke rumors of hazard. These generally fade with time when, as in this case, no real hazards emerge. But the anti-GMO fever still burns brightly, fanned by electronic gossip and well-organized fear-mongering that profits some individuals and organizations. We, and the thousands of other scientists who have signed the statement of protest, stand together in staunch opposition to the violent destruction of required tests on valuable advances such as Golden Rice that have the potential to save millions of impoverished fellow humans from needless suffering and death.

  * B. Chassy et al., "Global scientific community condemns the recent destruction of field trials of Golden Rice in the Philippines"; http://chn.ge/143PyHo (2013).

  † E. Mayo-Wilson et al., Br. Med. J. 343, d5094 (2011).

  ‡ G. Tang et al., Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 96, 658 (2012).
  ---------------------------------------------

  Activists Destroy 'Golden Rice' Field Trial

  By Kai Kupferschmidt
  9 August 2013

  Protestors from two anti-GMO groups, KMB and Sikwal-GMO, yesterday vandalized a field of genetically modified (GM) "golden rice" in the Bicol region of the Philippines.

  GMA News TV channel in the Philippines showed dozens of young men and women tearing down fences, swarming over a rice field, and uprooting stalks. "I am outraged," says Ingo Potrykus, a plant biologist, now retired, who was one of the researchers that originally created the rice strain. The rice was just weeks away from being harvested, he says. "Important data were to be collected from that field trial, and this can set us back months."

  Golden rice is engineered to carry two foreign genes—one bacterial and another from maize—that together produce beta carotene, a precursor of vitamin A that gives the rice grains their characteristic yellow hue. Scientists hope distribution of the modified rice can make inroads against vitamin A deficiency, which can lead to blindness and makes people more susceptible to infectious diseases. The deficiency affects approximately 1.7 million children aged 6 months to 5 years in the Philippines alone, according to the International Rice Research Institute.

  The vandalized field was one of five involved in golden rice trials in the Philippines aiming to show that "the plants are suitable for cultivation and would give farmers a good crop, and to assess any environmental impact they might have," says Robert Zeigler, director general of the International Rice Research Institute. The grain harvested from the plants is also needed for studies assessing whether the beta carotene in the rice is absorbed and converted into vitamin A in vitamin A-deficient people. Golden rice could be deemed safe and approved by the Philippine government as early as the end of this year, Zeigler says—but the efficacy trials could take another 18 months. That's the timeline if the remaining field sites are unmolested, Zeigler says.

  The Philippines' Agriculture Department plans to step up security at the trial sites. In Zeigler's view, the vandals are unfairly attacking the public sector project as if it is a multinational company producing GM plants for profit. They "are condemning this technology by association," he says.

  Kai Kupferschmidt is a contributing correspondent for Science magazine based in Berlin, Germany.


  Standing Up for Golden Rice
  Printer-friendly version 
  Scientists speak out against the destruction of experimental fields of Golden Rice, a new type of rice that contains beta carotene, a source of vitamin A with the potential to reduce vitamin A deficiency and resulting blindness in the Philippines and Bangladesh
  Science
   
  Golden Rice is being developed and evaluated to help address vitamin A deficiency

  1 Standing Up for GMOs
  2 Activists Destroy 'Golden Rice' Field Trial

  Science 20 September 2013:
  Vol. 341 no. 6152 p. 1320
  DOI: 10.1126/science.1245017

  EDITORIAL
  Standing Up for GMOs

  Bruce Alberts(1), Roger Beachy(2), David Baulcombe(3), Gunter Blobel(4), Swapan Datta(5), Nina Fedoroff(6), Donald Kennedy(7), Gurdev S. Khush(8), Jim Peacock(9), Martin Rees(10), Phillip Sharp(11)

  1 Bruce Alberts is President Emeritus of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and former Editor-in-Chief of Science.

  2 Roger Beachy is a Wolf Prize laureate; President Emeritus of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis, MO, USA; and former director of the U.S. National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

  3 David Baulcombe is a Wolf Prize laureate and Royal Society Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences of the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK. He receives research funding from Syngenta and is a consultant for Syngenta.

  4 Gunter Blobel is a Nobel laureate and the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Professor at the Rockefeller University, New York, NY, USA.

  5 Swapan Datta is Deputy Director General (Crop Science) of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, India; the Rash Behari Ghosh Chair Professor at Calcutta University, India; and a former scientist at ETH-Zurich, Switzerland, and at IRRI, Philippines.

  6 Nina Fedoroff is a National Medal of Science laureate; a Distinguished Professor at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia; an Evan Pugh Professor at Pennylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA; and former President of AAAS.

  7 Donald Kennedy is President Emeritus of Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA, and former Editor-in-Chief of Science.

  8 Gurdev S. Khush is a World Food Prize laureate, Japan Prize laureate, and former scientist at IRRI, Los Baños, Philippines.

  9 Jim Peacock is a former Chief Scientist of Australia and former Chief of the Division of Plant Industry at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Canberra, Australia.

  10 Martin Rees is President Emeritus of the Royal Society, Fellow of Trinity College, and Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

  11 Phillip Sharp is a Nobel laureate; an Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA; and President of AAAS.

  On 8 August 2013, vandals destroyed a Philippine “Golden Rice” field trial. Officials and staff of the Philippine Department of Agriculture that conduct rice tests for the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) had gathered for a peaceful dialogue. They were taken by surprise when protesters invaded the compound, overwhelmed police and village security, and trampled the rice. Billed as an uprising of farmers, the destruction was actually carried out by protesters trucked in overnight in a dozen jeepneys.

  The global scientific community has condemned the wanton destruction of these field trials, gathering thousands of supporting signatures in a matter of days.* If ever there was a clear-cut cause for outrage, it is the concerted campaign by Greenpeace and other nongovernmental organizations, as well as by individuals, against Golden Rice. Golden Rice is a strain that is genetically modified by molecular techniques (and therefore labeled a genetically modified organism or GMO) to produce β-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A. Vitamin A is an essential component of the light-absorbing molecule rhodopsin in the eye. Severe vitamin A deficiency results in blindness, and half of the roughly half-million children who are blinded by it die within a year. Vitamin A deficiency also compromises immune system function, exacerbating many kinds of illnesses. It is a disease of poverty and poor diet, responsible for 1.9 to 2.8 million preventable deaths annually, mostly of children under 5 years old and women.†

  Rice is the major dietary staple for almost half of humanity, but white rice grains lack vitamin A. Research scientists Ingo Potrykus and Peter Beyer and their teams developed a rice variety whose grains accumulate β-carotene. It took them, in collaboration with IRRI, 25 years to develop and test varieties that express sufficient quantities of the precursor that a few ounces of cooked rice can provide enough β-carotene to eliminate the morbidity and mortality of vitamin A deficiency.‡ It took time, as well, to obtain the right to distribute Golden Rice seeds, which contain patented molecular constructs, free of charge to resource-poor farmers.

  The rice has been ready for farmers to use since the turn of the 21st century, yet it is still not available to them. Escalating requirements for testing have stalled its release for more than a decade. IRRI and PhilRice continue to patiently conduct the required field tests with Golden Rice, despite the fact that these tests are driven by fears of “potential” hazards, with no evidence of actual hazards. Introduced into commercial production over 17 years ago, GM crops have had an exemplary safety record. And precisely because they benefit farmers, the environment, and consumers, GM crops have been adopted faster than any other agricultural advance in the history of humanity.

  New technologies often evoke rumors of hazard. These generally fade with time when, as in this case, no real hazards emerge. But the anti-GMO fever still burns brightly, fanned by electronic gossip and well-organized fear-mongering that profits some individuals and organizations. We, and the thousands of other scientists who have signed the statement of protest, stand together in staunch opposition to the violent destruction of required tests on valuable advances such as Golden Rice that have the potential to save millions of impoverished fellow humans from needless suffering and death.

  * B. Chassy et al., “Global scientific community condemns the recent destruction of field trials of Golden Rice in the Philippines”; http://chn.ge/143PyHo (2013).
  † E. Mayo-Wilson et al., Br. Med. J. 343, d5094 (2011).
  ‡ G. Tang et al., Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 96, 658 (2012).

  Activists Destroy 'Golden Rice' Field Trial

  By Kai Kupferschmidt 

  9 August 2013 4:30 pm

  Protestors from two anti-GMO groups, KMB and Sikwal-GMO, yesterday vandalized a field of genetically modified (GM) "golden rice" in the Bicol region of the Philippines. 

  GMA News TV channel in the Philippines showed dozens of young men and women tearing down fences, swarming over a rice field, and uprooting stalks. "I am outraged," says Ingo Potrykus, a plant biologist, now retired, who was one of the researchers that originally created the rice strain. The rice was just weeks away from being harvested, he says. "Important data were to be collected from that field trial, and this can set us back months."

  Golden rice is engineered to carry two foreign genes—one bacterial and another from maize—that together produce beta carotene, a precursor of vitamin A that gives the rice grains their characteristic yellow hue. Scientists hope distribution of the modified rice can make inroads against vitamin A deficiency, which can lead to blindness and makes people more susceptible to infectious diseases. The deficiency affects approximately 1.7 million children aged 6 months to 5 years in the Philippines alone, according to the International Rice Research Institute.

  The vandalized field was one of five involved in golden rice trials in the Philippines aiming to show that "the plants are suitable for cultivation and would give farmers a good crop, and to assess any environmental impact they might have," says Robert Zeigler, director general of the International Rice Research Institute. The grain harvested from the plants is also needed for studies assessing whether the beta carotene in the rice is absorbed and converted into vitamin A in vitamin A-deficient people. Golden rice could be deemed safe and approved by the Philippine government as early as the end of this year, Zeigler says—but the efficacy trials could take another 18 months. That's the timeline if the remaining field sites are unmolested, Zeigler says.

  The Philippines’ Agriculture Department plans to step up security at the trial sites. In Zeigler’s view, the vandals are unfairly attacking the public sector project as if it is a multinational company producing GM plants for profit. They “are condemning this technology by association," he says.

  Kai Kupferschmidt is a contributing correspondent for Science magazine based in Berlin, Germany.

  - See more at: http://portside.org/2013-11-02/standing-golden-rice#sthash.ATOwXgnl.dpuf
author- "The Black Holocaust for Beginners"
http://blackeducator.blogspot.com