GMO Golden Rice Lacks Nutritional Benefit Says FDA
By Heather Callaghan, Editor
Despite claims from Big Biotech that GM golden rice will save the hungry world from its vitamin A deficiencies – surprise, surprise, it offers no nutritional benefits.
But the real eye opener is – the FDA has not tried to cover up this gaffe. It is not acting as a front runner for GMOs in this instance. The FDA has “concluded its consultation process on Golden Rice by informing its current developers, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), that Golden Rice does not meet the nutritional requirements to make a health claim,” according to Independent Science News.
Keep in mind that the IRRI is propped up by the Rockefeller Foundation and is working in conjunction with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Thus, the IRRI likes to claim that they are doing this work for free and the good of humanity. (See article)
The Golden Rice version submitted to FDA by IRRI, called event GR2E, is the only Golden Rice to have ever been submitted for regulatory approval. In 2017, it was approved for import by regulators in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Originally developed by Syngenta, Golden Rice GR2E is now funded by the Gates Foundation.
The letter containing FDA’s statement on GR2E’s lack of nutritional benefit was posted on May 25th, 2018 (FDA 2018b).
In IRRI’s consultation with FDA, IRRI stated it has no intention of marketing Golden Rice in the US. Nevertheless, in part because rice is wind pollinated, it is expected that, if commercialized, Golden Rice GR2E will contaminate U.S. rice imports.
They point out that GM Golden Rice may be more beholden to regulatory agencies because of the many hundreds of GMO contamination events, including a rice contamination event that uprooted the market in 2006-2008.
The FDA cannot legally approve/reject GMO crop for mass consumption. But they can weigh in and give their blessing as in the case of China’s genetically engineered rice.
The FDA acknowledges the IRRI’s safety claims and their claims that the composition of the GM rice matches conventional rice. But this is where the FDA’s specialty really shines….smashing health claims.
…the concentration of β-carotene in GR2E rice is too low to warrant a nutrient content claim.
Here’s how the nutritional content compares to other vegetation according to Independent Science:
In an attached memo, FDA notes the beta-carotene content of unmilled Golden Rice GR2E ranged from 0.50-2.35ug/g (FDA 2018a). That is, beta-carotene levels in Golden Rice are both low and variable. This compares to beta-carotene levels measured in non-GMO foods such as fresh carrot (13.8-49.3ug/g; Schaub et al. 2017); Asian greens (19.74-66.04 ug/g; Chandra-Hioe et al. 2017); and spinach (111ug/g; Li et al. 2017).
According to calculations from Greenpeace, a person would have to eat at least 8 pounds of this rice per day to get enough beta-carotene!
Again, the FDA isn’t contesting the safety of the engineered rice, just the disparity of its nutritional content versus the health claims.
Yet, there are some safety concerns. Not only does Independent Science News point out that the beta carotene from GE rice rapidly degrades, but also that,
Testbiotech and other researchers have pointed out that key human safety and efficacy studies are lacking, especially for target populations (Then and Bauer-Panskus 2018; Stone and Glover 2016; Schubert 2008). Specific health concerns include unintended nutritional effects of carotenoid biosynthesis or its degradation products and because certain components of the carotenoid pathway can be toxic (Schubert 2008; Stone and Glover 2016).
The nutritonal value of GM Golden Rice may be even less…
The FDA did their measurements based on just a couple dozen pounds of rice consumption per year, when the rice consumption in the Philippines is around 10 times that amount each year!
I’ve written before about how aggressive the IRRI is when it comes to forcing GMOs on an unwilling public.
In 2013, after 400 Philippines farming protesters trampled and uprooted GM Golden Rice field trial grounds, a researcher on the IRRI project said:
This is not a major setback, because it is just one trial of a series and just one of several sites. We remain completely committed to continuing our Golden Rice research to help improve people’s nutrition.
Yeah, it really sounds like human health is really their goal…
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