Critic claims Golden Rice may never be introduced, better Vitamin A deficiency solutions exist

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Few GM crops are discussed as much — and misunderstood as much — as “Golden Rice.”

All the shouting tends to cover up a crucial issue with Golden Rice: who is it for, exactly?  Proponents usually discuss it as a vitamin tablet headed for generic underfed children in “poor countries”.

But here’s the problem.  Golden Rice is not a vitamin tablet, it’s rice, and it is headed specifically for the Philippines.

And Golden Rice doesn’t grow well in the Philippines — not yet anyway.  As of this writing, over 14 years after the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) began trying to bring Golden Rice down to earth in the Philippines, it still exhibits lower productivity.

Contrary to claims that children are dying because of Greenpeace’s opposition, Golden Rice is simply not ready. IRRI is quite clear about this, as a visit to their website will show.

Even if Golden Rice is brought up to speed agronomically, its goal of having a significant public health impact is probably unlikely.

Nutrition programs have brought the incidence of childhood VAD from a peak of 40% in 2003 to 15% in 2008 (Food & Nutrition Research Inst. nd), and the incidence has almost certainly fallen more since then. Again, IRRI itself has been transparent, acknowledging on their website that VAD is being effectively reduced without Golden Rice.

Again, IRRI itself has been transparent, acknowledging on their website that VAD is being effectively reduced without Golden Rice.

Read full, original post: Golden Rice: Bringing a Superfood Down to Earth

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