Adrian Dubock, Golden Rice scientist: Greenpeace, GMO critics misrepresent humanitarian project

The debate over Golden Rice has heated up again, this time in response to the call from 107 Nobel prize winners (of the 296 living laureates) for Greenpeace to cease campaigning against the nutritionally enhanced crop that its supporters say could reduce Vitamin-A deficiencies causing blindness and death in children in the developing world. The laureates went so far as to question if the NGO’s behavior should be considered “crimes against humanity”.

Greenpeace International’s website states that the release of GMOs into the natural world is a form of “genetic pollution.” Wilhelmina Pelegrina of Greenpeace Southeast Asia Golden Rice defended the non profit, firing back in a statement on June 30, stating, “Accusations that anyone is blocking genetically engineered ‘Golden’ rice are false.” She then shifted the blame, claiming:

Corporations are overhyping ‘Golden’ rice to pave the way for global approval of other more profitable genetically engineered crops. This costly experiment has failed to produce results for the last 20 years and diverted attention from methods that already work. Rather than invest in this overpriced public relations exercise, we need to address malnutrition through a more diverse diet, equitable access to food and eco-agriculture.

Golden Rice, an Asian rice variety genetically modified to synthesize beta carotene which is a precursor to Vitamin A has been in development for decades, but is still not yet available to farmers for a variety of reasons. Washington University anthropologist Glenn Davis Stone and Dominic Glover of the University of Sussex offered their view of why the rice is not yet on the market in a recent peer-reviewed paper. Stone subsequently made headlines when, in a public relations interview for Washington University promoting his article, he echoed Greenpeace’s long held assertion that activists are not responsible for the crop’s delay: “…we find little support for the common claim that environmental activists are responsible for stalling its introduction. GMO opponents have not been the problem.”

Stone and Glover, both long-time skeptics of the benefits of crop biotechnology, cite in their journal article research by Adrian Dubock, who has served as the project manager for the Golden Rice project since 2008 and is the executive secretary of the Golden Rice Humanitarian Board since 2010. In a letter sent exclusively to the Genetic Literacy Project, Dubock takes issue with the paper and Stone’s comments, which he believes misrepresented his work, the progress of Golden Rice, and the motives of those working on the project.


Adrian Dubock, Executive Secretary, Golden Rice Humanitarian Board, in response to:

“Disembedding Grain: Golden Rice, The Green Revolution, and Heirloom Seeds in the Philippines,”GD Stone & D Glover Published 16 April 2016. In Agriculture and Human Values, The Journal of the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society, Volume 33, Issue 1

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates

When I was a child in the 1950’s my family didn’t have a TV. But I did see TV in a neighbor’s house. One of the abiding images is of Indian’s in loin cloths standing in line for food handouts: 50% of India has wheat as the staple crop and 50% has rice as the staple crop, and the country was not able to produce enough to feed its population.

Stone & Glover are critical of the “Green Revolution”, although the Nobel Prize Committee thought differently when they awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to Normal Borlaug in 1970. Some people thought that Gurdev Khush should have been awarded it too: at the relevant time he was the chief Rice Breeder at the International Rice Research Institute. Gurdev Khush has received many accolades, including the World Food Prize, awarded annually and funded in part by the endowment provided from the Nobel Prize money of Normal Borlaug. Here is what Dr. Khush reported in April 2015 on Indian Rice yields:

The Green Revolution had a remarkable impact on food security in India. During the 1960s, India imported up to 10 million tons of food grains per year. For the past 10 years,India has exported 4 to 6 million tons of food grains every year. The quantity of rice exported in 2013-14 was 10.7 million tons—more than any other country. Considering that the population of India has increased from 350 million in 1960 to 1.3 billion at present, this is a remarkable achievement.The present food grain situation in the country is the result of the unprecedented increase in rice and wheat production because of wide-scale adoption of Green Revolution technology. For example, wheat production increased from 10.3 million tons in 1960 to 97 million tons in 2013-14. Rice production increased from 34.6 million tons in 1960 to 154 million tons in 2013-14.

Nobody forced Indian rice farmers to buy the improved seeds sustainably over so many rice generations, and I don’t expect the previously hungry of India much care that the rice varieties were not embedded in “the cultural, historic, agronomic, economic and public health contexts” specific to India, which Stone and Glover, clearly serious scientists in their fields of anthropology and environmental studies, think are so important. I don’t expect they much cared either that, as noted by Stone & Glover: The Green Revolution spread generic, disembedded high input seeds to replace locally adapted landraces as well as peasant attitudes and practices associated with them.” After all, despite the green revolution there are still somewhere above 20,000 varieties of rice for farmers, including ‘peasant’ farmers, to choose to plant.

Glover & Stone also ignore some important Principles of the 1992 UN Biodiversity Convention. Annex 1 states:

Principle 1

Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development.

They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.

Also relevant are:

Principle 4

In order to achieve sustainable development, environmental protection shall constitute an integral part of the development process and cannot be considered in isolation from it.

Principle 5

All States and all people shall cooperate in the essential task of eradicating poverty as an indispensable requirement for sustainable development, in order to decrease the disparities in standards of living and better meet the needs of the majority of the people of the world.

Increasing a country’s self-sufficiency in macronutrients is surely a key part of the above, and more important than the considerations promoted by Stone & Glover.

In both cases, wheat and rice production, when Indian’s had enough to eat of either staple, they received carbohydrates – excellent as source of energy, but essentially no micronutrients – minerals and vitamins – essential for human health.

It is the frequent lack of a source of vitamin A in the diet of poor people for whom rice is the staple which was at the forefront of Golden Rice inventor’s Peter Beyer and Ingo Potrykus attention during their quest to invent Golden Rice. And once ‘proof of concept’ Golden Rice was achieved in 1999, it was the plight of the poor, in India in particular, which caused them to insist that India be included in the humanitarian, not-for-profit Golden Rice project, whether or not India was listed as a “Developing Country” by FAO. As has been reported by Semba (2012):

With nearly two million under-five child deaths per year, India ranks at the top of all nations’ under-five mortality………… India’s share of global under-five deaths is rivaled only by that of sub-Saharan Africa…. Compared with its immediate neighbors, India has made relatively little progress in mitigating child mortality since 1980.”The low coverage of India’s vitamin A supplementation program may account for that country’s relative failure in reducing child mortality…….What has made the vitamin A deficiency situation in India so intractable? The probable answer is lack of national leadership in public health and nutrition, leading to inadequate coverage in vitamin A supplementation. There is a close correlation between high vitamin A deficiency, high under-five mortality, and deep poverty. Sadly, this confluence of ills describes much of India.

It is remarkable, that Stone & Glover, despite over 100 references to their paper (including one of mine from 2014) and 13 individuals acknowledged—didn’t think to contact either of the inventors or myself for a perspective, or follow up on two other papers of mine referenced in the one they did read: Golden Rice: a long-running story at the watershed of the GM debate and The politics of Golden Rice.

A main part of the thesis of Glover & Stone is that Golden Rice is disembedded from “the cultural, historic, agronomic, economic and public health contexts specific to the Philippines”. Except for a brief footnote implying that Golden Rice research in ‘Vietnam, India and Bangladesh’ is unworthy of discussion, they state that because the Philippines is the home to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), that the work of IRRI (which was Potrykus and Beyer’s first – of 15 – rice research institute licensees, all the rest of which are national public sector labs) is only designed to benefit Philippine consumers. This is incorrect.

Perhaps it is because they are unwilling to acknowledge that due to technology limitations it was not possible to directly transform into indica rices, that this deceit continues thought their paper. As is clear from Dubock 2013, one of the papers they don’t refer to:

Golden Rice seed is available to public-sector rice-breeding institutions in less developed countries where rice is the staple and vitamin A deficiency endemic. Supply is subject only to national and international regulations, and simple and free agreements. Then using conventional breeding techniques the nutritional trait can be introduced into any locally adapted and preferred variety of rice so that its agronomy, preparation and taste will be the same. Farmers will subsequently, initially using seed from their national seed supply system, be free to plant, harvest, save seed, and locally sell Golden Rice as they wish. There is no reason Golden Rice should cost any more than white rice to the farmer or consumer, and consumer benefit is expected from its health-promoting properties. [Emphasis added].

Thus with respect to locally adapted and preferred rice varieties the Golden Rice nutritional trait can be embedded in the cultural, historic, agronomic, economic and public health contexts of each country, and in any variety or rice preferred there – which of course may not be the “heirloom seeds” apparently preferred for all purposes by Stone & Glover: but surely the seed variety should be for local rice breeders to select, not foreigners, whatever their specialization and motivation? Local choices of rice variety are exactly what is promoted by the Golden Rice project.

From Dubock 2014, the other paper they choose to ignore, it is clear how the suspicion of GMO-crops induced by an out of date Cartagena Protocol has been harvested by anti-globalization-anti-gmo-activists for fund raising and cynically by the organic food industry also to further their commercial claims. This paper also explains the difficulties put in the way of researchers in terms of international collaboration through moving gmo-crop samples: all incidentally in contravention of the key principles of the Convention on Biodiversity, a few of which are quoted above, and where the ‘Precautionary Principle’, the primary objective of the Cartagena Protocol is only Principle 15 of 27. As reported in the Dubock 2014 paper they refer to (page 80):

As of today, October, 2011, more than two and a half years on [from the March 2009 Lead Event decision], the selected Golden Rice seed has been supplied to research institutes in only two countries: India and Philippines. The inventors and the public sector Golden Rice licensees in other countries are very frustrated by this slow progress, at a time when multiple rice breeding programmes could be underway in multiple countries. All licensees already have the legal ownership of the Golden Rice trait. They need the physical materials. And use of the same physical materials—the same transformation event even in different varieties of rice—is effectively mandated by the regulatory environment.

This frustration that so few of the rice breeding resources, apart from IRRI, of the public sector in all licensee nations have been harnessed in developing Golden Rice is still current. (Many of the reasons are summarized in Dubock 2014.)

Glover and Stone are politely rude about the motivations of those involved with Golden Rice. It is untrue that Golden Rice has been for “15 years ….a public relations vehicle”, and those involved are not responsible for how others refer to the project. They mention that the Tang et al 2012 study of the bioconversion of the beta-carotene in Golden Rice was retracted. They don’t mention the published conclusions of the Tufts University investigation that preceded the retraction that

These multiple reviews found no concerns related to the integrity of the study data, the accuracy of the research results or the safety of the research subjects. In fact, the study indicated that a single serving of the test product, Golden Rice, could provide greater than 50 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A in these children, which could significantly improve health outcomes if adopted as a dietary regimen.

They question whether the beta carotene in Golden Rice degrades on storage or in cooking. Both points are explained in the papers I have referred to, and are relatively insignificant. Here is a photo of three samples of Golden Rice stored at ambient temperature since harvest:

Screenshot 2016-06-30 at 11.43.11 AM

The photo was taken in October 2015, and has not been ‘photo-shopped’. Most resource poor farmers do not store rice for very long because they are short of food. Yet here rice harvested in March 2011 still contains beta-carotene – probably at useful levels indicated by the color 4 ½ years after harvest.

As explained in the 2014 paper of mine Stone & Glover do quote:

Dr Parminder Virk, IRRI rice breeder in charge of the programme, [in 2009] presented comprehensive data [including the slide reproduced below] ……… covering ten agronomic measurements used by rice breeders as well as carotenoid content and degradation over time” for Golden Rice, and “Carotenoid content degrades rapidly after harvest (as is common in all crops) but in rice the rate of decrease after 2 months was demonstrated to be minimal.” And “All calculations (and subsequent breeding decisions) used only the retained β-carotene content after 2 months of storage. Calculations also assumed 20% losses of carotenoid through cooking, although only 6% losses had been noted….

It seems that Stone and Glover were remiss in not referring to these facts whilst referring to questions about these matters raised by Pénicaud et al (2011), and Michael Hansen (2013).

And this graph is available on the web with a little searching (it’s in a PowerPoint presentation of mine):

Screenshot 2016-06-30 at 11.59.33 AMThere are so many other aspects of Glover and Stone’s analysis of Golden Rice which are selectively chosen to further their thesis, that is brings into doubt their assertion that “we do not champion or disparage the forms of embeddedness or disembeddedness we have described in the three rice worlds. [Golden Rice, The Green Revolution, and heirloom seeds in the Philippines].”They offer advantages and disadvantages, depending on one’s perspective and purpose.”

So let’s look at the perspectives of Golden Rice’s inventors and donors, Professors Potrykus and Beyer, The Golden Rice Humanitarian Board, and all the rice institutions and their Governments who have been investing in the project for so long.

Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) remains a killer in many parts of the developing world. And rice feeds half the world every day. Rice has to be polished for storage or it goes rancid, and polished rice contains no pro-vitamin A. There is no new data on the mortality reducing impact of providing a source of vitamin A to those that need it, as the positive effects are so clear in a research context that to withhold it would be unethical. And only Random Controlled Trials can and have isolated the one cause which relates to mortality: such data have demonstrated the 23 – 34% of global under 5 years child mortality can be prevented by an accessible source of vitamin A. (As well as a lot of blindness prevented. But most who die from VAD induced impaired immune response do so before becoming blind.)

The <5y child global mortality figures from the UN are:

Screenshot 2016-06-30 at 12.02.07 PM

Important Millennium Development Goals: 1, to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, and Goals 4 to “Reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate”, & 5, to reduce significantly maternal mortality, all between 1990 and 2015, despite significant progress, were not met.

And, despite all current knowledge and interventions, the latest data on VAD deaths, mostly children, are as follows:

Notes: * Mostly children <5 years; ** 1 in 3 HIV deaths is due to TB; *** mortality from TB of HIV negative people. Data sources: For 2010 data: Dubock 2013; for 2014 data: UNICEF 2016, West et al. 2010, UNAIDS 2015, WHO 2014a, b.
Notes: * Mostly children Data sources: For 2010 data: Dubock 2013; for 2014 data: UNICEF 2016, West et al. 2010, UNAIDS 2015, WHO 2014a, b.

For more than a quarter of a century, vitamin A deficiency (VAD) has been recognized by the United Nations as a significant public health problem. Key milestones included the:

1.) 1990 UN World Summit for Children, where 50 heads of government and senior government officials committed their governments to the virtual elimination of VAD by the year 2000 (UNICEF, 1990).

2.) 1992 UN International Conference on Nutrition, which concluded that:

  • VAD control is the most cost-effective child health/survival strategy governments can pursue.
  • All sectors of society should support the virtual elimination of VAD.
  • Strategies should include promoting breast-feeding, dietary diversification, vitamin A supplementation and food fortification.
  • Locally available food-based strategies are the first priority. Vitamin A capsule supplementation is only an interim measure. (FAO, 1992)

3.) 2004 UNICEF and the Micronutrient Initiative Report ‘Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency’, which concluded that ‘controlling vitamin and mineral deficiency is an affordable opportunity to improve the lives of two billion people and strengthen the pulse of economic development’ and that ‘probably no other technology available today offers as large an opportunity to improve lives and accelerate development at such low cost’ (UNICEF, 2004).

Related article:  Turning point from the botched French maize study: GM opponents look like climate deniers

In adults (in the USA) and most importantly children (in China), careful and sophisticated research has shown that the beta-carotene in Golden Rice, following only a single meal, is very efficiently converted to vitamin A by the human body. Only a few tens of grams of dry Golden Rice, when cooked and consumed daily, is expected to combat vitamin A deficiency and save life and sight. The results show that Golden Rice “may be as useful as a source of preformed vitamin A from vitamin A capsules, eggs, or milk to overcome vitamin A in rice-consuming populations”.

The inventors of Golden Rice, nor their public sector licensees, created the controversy which surrounds GMO-crops, nor have they stimulated the use of Golden Rice in pro-gmo-crop or anti-gmo-crop arguments. All understand that poverty is the principal cause of vitamin A deficiency. They know that the need for cheap and effective VAD interventions with a minimum requirement to adjust cultural practices of crop growth, processing, storage, food preparation or diet remains.

In this context it is hard to take Stone and Glover’s criticism of Golden Rice concerning “embeddedness” or “productivism” and “the cultural, historic, agronomic, economic and public health contexts” as a helpful contribution in the real world, despite the consideration that, because gmo-crops are controversial, Golden Rice may provide a platform for more discussion than normal, of their ideas.

And let’s remember Principle 1 of the Annex to the UN’s Convention on Biodiversity:

“Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.”

Adrian Dubock is project manager for the Golden Rice project and the executive secretary of the Golden Rice Humanitarian Board. 

56 thoughts on “Adrian Dubock, Golden Rice scientist: Greenpeace, GMO critics misrepresent humanitarian project”

  1. Thanks so much for writing a response to this. People have been using Stone & Glover as if it exonerated Greenpeace in some manner, when it absolutely did nothing of the sort.

          • I’ll let you read Greepeace’s literature for yourself, (or read the article above) but I suspect you are quite familiar with Greenpeace’s opinions and representations regarding the effort to introduce into rice varieties a trait that endows rice with ability to provide beta-carotene which the body metabolizes into vitamin A as a method to empower communities to overcome a pervasive and consequential nutritional deficiency through biofortification of an important food staple. While I might even concede that those who support Greenpeace’s position may sincerely percieve that that golden rice will ultimately prove detrimental from an agronomic, cultural, environmental or human health perspective, I believe the organization is in part to perhaps largely motivated to oppose golden rice out of the realization that if golden rice proves successful in addressing vitamin A deficiencies without the dire destructive consequences it warns about, suddenly Greenpeace would lose a lot of credibility and clout with local populations and governments. Its rhetoric would be viewed even by the people the organization claims to be protecting as needlessly alarmist.

            You can have the last word if you want, but don’t insult my intelligence or your own with this faux interrogation. This thread is over a year old and my original comment made the point I intended and which I believe you understood well. As might be apparent to you, I do not accept Greenpeace to be an honest broker of information on the topic and I concede no moral or intellectual superiority to them in their campaign to discredit golden rice. You can agree or disagree with Greenpeace as you see fit.

          • What a lengthy way to try and avoid answering my question. Admit it Rick, you were talking complete and utter claptrap, and of course there is no reason why Greenpeace would have any reason to fear Golden Rice not working. It was just baloney on your part, and YOU were the one insulting other peoples’ intelligence.

            My advice to you Rick is to get real, and stop trying to be so goddam clever with your propaganda twaddle. Do you and your chums not realise that most people can see right through you and your nasty little agenda.

  2. How can a “scientific” paper written by an anthropologist and an environmentalist possibly “prove” that Greenpeace had no role in preventing the adoption of Golden Rice? Hysterical opposition and mobilization of mobs to oppose a new technology had no effect? And that they attack the Green Revolution too for not being “embedded in the cultural, historic, agronomic, economic and public health contexts” specific to India is just too ridiculous. The cultural, historic, agronomic, economic and public health context of India in the 1960s was MASS HUNGER and STARVATION. The context of much of southeast Asia today is 100s of thousands of children going blind and dying from lack of vitamin A. Stone and Glover think this is normal and should be respected. They really make me sick. What I don’t understand is why Golden rice hasn’t progressed in spite of the hysterical opposition to it. Some have suggested poor Philippine farmers don’t care about nutritional properties of the rice, they only want to grow white, high yielding varieties that stand a chance in the marketplace. This again is a condemnation of Greenpeace which has totally disinformed the Philippine population about Golden Rice.

    • The following is from an article by Michael Slezak posted on 9 August 2013 on the New Scientist website. I came across the article as a consequence of a link to it in another article, by Mark Lynus, on the Slate website, entitled ‘The True Story About Who Destroyed a Genetically Modified Rice Crop’:

      ‘Bruce Tolentino, deputy director general at IRRI said “We were hoping we would get data from this field but we also have five other locations to get the data from. So it is not a major blow to the research process.”’

      And here’s a link to the Mark Lynus article (it’s interesting to note that nowhere in his article does he accuse Greenpeace of being involved in destroying the GR field trial crop):

      So if the trashing of the GR field trial crop wasn’t a setback for the program, which it wasn’t, and Greenpeace weren’t invovled anyway, which they weren’t, can anyone explain to me how those accusing Greenpeace of being responsible for hundreds of thousands of young children going blind or dying every year as a consequence of VAD, have any justification for doing so.

      No, of course they can’t, because it is just a Big Lie, a complete distortion of reality designed to demonise Greenpeace and create animosity towards them in the general public, a black propaganda op by the GM lobby and their shills. There are no words to express my disgust at such dispicable and loathsome tactics. And such tactics tell us all we need to know about THEM.

      • This is what I love: when anti-GMO cranks throw a citation at you that they really hope you won’t read, but when you do, it directly contradicts what the crank is saying! Let’s look at Mr. Lynas’s Slate article. What does he say about Greenpeace? I quote:

        “…the crop was actually destroyed by a small number of activists while farmers who had been bussed in to attend the event looked on in dismay. The nature of the attack was widely misreported, from the New York Times to New Scientist to BBC News, based on false claims by the activists. But then anti-GMO activists often lie. In support of the vandals, Greenpeace has claimed that there are health concerns about the genetically modified rice. In fact there is no evidence of risk, and the destruction of this field trial could lead to needless deaths.”

        So we see that what Mr. Lynas actually said was that Greenpeace both supports and provides cover for these yellow rice crop destroying activists AND THE DESTRUCTION OF THIS FIELD TRIAL COULD LEAD TO NEEDLESS DEATHS!!!! My, my, Mr. “Howard Allen,” we just shot ourselves in the foot, haven’t we? Feel free to keep it in your mouth till the bleeding stops.

        • Mark Lynus has his own agenda as you well know, much like yourself it would appear, so to quote HIM is beyond ludicrous. The point is that the trashing of the GR field trial did NOT cause any setbacks, which of course is very inconvenient for the GM black propagandists.

          You can try to intersperse propaganda with reality as much as you like, but most people will see right through it.

          The fact that you began your initial post above with a lie/fabrication says it all. Whilst Glenn Stone is indeed an anthropologist (at Washington University), as you in effect state, Dominic Glover is NOT an environmentalist, and as you well know, he is a rice researcher at the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Sussex.

          You deliberately misrepresented him, and for the obvious reason. Devious and underhand, such is the deceit and deception of the GM lobby, as is the whole program going right back to its inception. Promoting them as being ‘substantially equivalent’ to conventionally grown food crops being one of the first of numerous Big Lies disseminated by the GM propagandists during the past thirty years or so.

          Anyway, I can only assume that in your response you’ll be avoiding explaining how you managed to get it so wrong about Dominic Glover, as you are obviously not going to admit that you did so deliberately.

          • And thank goodness for Greenpeace, who along with the Soil Association and FoE and GMWatch and numerous other groups and organisations across Europe – along with Prince Charles – brought these fake foods to the attention of the general public and, as such, helped to keep them out of EU countries to a large extent.

            And isn’t it funny how anyone doing research that finds serious problems with GM crops – or glyphosate for that matter – is instantly attacked and villified by the GM establishment and their shills.

            I haven’t read the peer-reviewed study by Stone and Glover as it costs about £36 to purchase a copy, but I would be more than a little surprised if Mark Lynus hasn’t misrepresented their findings. Here’s an article that for sure DIDN’T:


          • Note: Since posting this comment Lynus has changed the link to one of the groups websites to something else, presumably so as to try and make me look like I don’t know what I’m talking about (and also because it is completely at odds with the picture HE was painting of them in his article), and as those who clicked on his link to the ‘press release’ of the ‘local office of the Department of Agriculture’, will know, it led to nothing (unless he’s changed that TOO!). Now I wonder why he would do THAT. Hmm, Propagandists eh! Good to know ur tuning in Mark.

            The following is a link to the Mark Lynus article:


            Please read it AND please click on some of the links as you DO, namely:

            The local office of the Department of Agriculture backs up this version of events. Their >press statementdescribes itselfpromotes a conspiracy theory<

            (actual links arrowed)

            As you will see from the links to these groups and the information therein, they are somewhat at odds with Lynus's description and portrayal of them in his article. To say the very least! But then Lynus was probably counting on very few people clicking on them and reading them.

            But of course Stuart, these Filipinos are just poor uneducated, ignorant people who can't think for themselves, and who Greenpeace as such exploits and manipulates for their own evil ends!

            Givus a break for cryin' out loud.

            Afterthought: And I have no doubt whatsoever that these groups have been infiltrated and monitored for many years – as such goups ARE all around the world – and the 'authorities' knew in advance what was planned and let them go ahead with it……perhaps even had their plants in the groups encourage them to do so. Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it Stu baby!

          • And I couldn’t help noticing how you avoided answering the question I posed Stuart. So here it is again:

            So if the trashing of the GR field trial crop wasn’t a setback for the program, which it wasn’t, and Greenpeace weren’t invovled anyway, which they weren’t, can anyone explain to me how those accusing Greenpeace of being responsible for hundreds of thousands of young children going blind or dying every year as a consequence of VAD, have any justification for doing so.

            Stuart? (or anyone else for that matter)

            PS At the end of his article, Mark Lynus says how “If all goes as planned” then Golden Rice “could be made available within as little as two years in the Philippines”. THAT was four years ago! And the GM propagandists have been saying the same thing over and over again for about ten years now. What a complete and utter joke!

          • I honestly don’t remember why I referred to an environmentalist. Perhaps I was referring to Wilhelmina Pelegrina, the Greenpeace propagandist who was quoted just before the Stone & Glover article, and I wasn’t even referring to Glover. I wrote that comment one year ago, so I can’t remember.

            And you attack me for quoting Mark Lynas???? YOU BROUGHT HIM UP! YOU PROVIDED THE CITATION LINK! I quote you: “And here’s a link to the Mark Lynus article (it’s interesting to note that nowhere in his article does he accuse Greenpeace of being involved in destroying the GR field trial crop).” All I did was click on the link you provided and quote Lynas saying exactly that Greenpeace was involved.

            Greenpeace has done a lot of good on many environmental issues, I’ll be the first to admit that. But they are dead wrong on GMOs. The decision by many European countries to BAN THE GROWING OF GMO CROPS was purely political, pandering to food nazi hysterics like you and agricultural interests who wanted to keep out American competition, BUT IT DIDN’T STOP THEM FROM ALLOWING GMO CROPS TO BE IMPORTED TO EUROPE TO FEED ALL THEIR LIVESTOCK! Talk about hypocrisy. And Prince Charles? He’s a homeopathy fanatic, for crying out loud!

            The efforts of people like you and Greenpeace to hold up biotech research will hamper the search for real solutions to things like global warming, desertification, plant disease prevention, and nutritional deficiency. As the world population creeps up to 9.8 billion by 2050 and 13 billion by 2100, we better find some way of feeding those people. Organic agriculture isn’t going to help us. Or maybe that is your strategy: let them all starve and say it couldn’t be helped.

          • Oh, I see, so you can’t remember, but “perhaps” you were referring to Wilhelmina Pelegrina. Well that it explains it, doesn’t it.

            Do you really think people are stupid and dumb enough to swallow THAT, and that they can’t see right through you. Was THAT really the best you could come up with! Pathetic beyond words. And I think we can ALL see quite clearly who the propagandist is, and it ain’t Wilhelmina Pelegrina!

            Oh right, and so because I mentioned I came across the link to the Michael Slezak article in an article by Mark Lynus, THAT must mean that I completely agree with Lynus and accept everything he says in his article. Yes, of course Stuart.

            I of course mentioned the fact for TWO reasons, one of which I DIDN’T bother to even mention because the irony of it was so obvious – ie that Lynus should link to an article that in effect destroys his whole argument (because it quotes the deputy director general of the IRRI saying that they have five other plots etc). And the other reason, which I DID mention, is that Lynus DOESN’T accuse Greenpeace of being involved in the trashing of the trial plot in his article.

            But of course, YOU didn’t get any of THAT did you Stuart. No, of course you didn’t. The joke of it is that despite the fact that your disingenuousness is glaringly transparent to everyone, you’ll no doubt go on twisting and distorting and misrepresenting etc,etc,etc, precisely as you do in your latest offering.

            Anyway, can you please state exactly where Lynus says in his article that Greenpeace was involved in trashing the crop. No, of course you can’t, because he DOESN’T, and ALL you can come up with is that they – Greenpeace – “both supports and provides cover” for the groups that trashed the plot. (and just exactly HOW does Greenpeace ‘provide cover’, as you put it?)

            Twisting and distorting and misrepresenting….

            How about the possibility that these people are perfectly capable of thinking for themselves, and they can see the threat posed by GM crops on a variety of levels, not least of which is the danger they pose to their children’s health.

            As for the EU, the EU elite would have had us all eating GM foods, and had GM crops growing everywhere, but for the public opposition to them. And they are doing what they can – along with the GM lobby – to inflict them on us by the back door, including importing GM animal feed in recent years. I won’t elaborate just now, but as you no doubt well know, many people are opposed to it. And as per usual, YOU are just being disingenuous, yet again!

            And it Isn’t ALL “their livestock”!

            Twisting and distorting and misrepresenting…..

            The GM fascists are intent on completely controlling the global food system, and if they succeed, then practically ALL crops and fruit trees and livestock and so-called farmed fish etc will be genetically engineered, but you can be 110% certain that the elites around the world and their minions WON’T be eating any of it, and will be eating organically grown/produced food, just as they do NOW of course.

            Climate change poses a serious threat to us in the longer term, but GM fake foods pose much more of an immanent threat to the planet, and what they are doing is beyond criminal.

            Wilhelmina Pelegrina my @#$%!

            To be continued.

          • Well thanks for reposting your comment! I’m glad I saved my response.

            “…Greenpeace has claimed that there are health concerns about the genetically modified rice…” per Mark Lynas (you can’t even spell his name right). Sounds to me like Lynas was saying Greenpeace was defending the actions of the activists who destroyed those crops. Maybe it doesn’t to you, but let the readers of our debate decide.

            Every scientific body in the world from the American Association for the Advancement of Science to the Royal Society of the UK to the European Commission has deemed genetically engineered foods to be equivalent to conventional foods in safety for humans and the environment. It is only fanatics like you and a tiny group of scientists on the anti-GMO circuit who convince the gullible that GE foods represent some kind of danger. The PEW polling group recently randomly surveyed the 125,000 members of the AAAS and found that these scientists agreed with the statement “GMOs are safe” EVEN MORE THAN THEY AGREED WITH MAN-MADE GLOBAL WARMING (both were close in the high 80 percents).

            Food Nazis like you are intent on controlling the world food supply by misinforming and disinforming the public on the safety of genetically engineered foods, denying them the benefits of enhanced nutrition and cheaper food, denying farmers the advantages of minimum tillage and reduced labor and chemical inputs and the income from higher yields, denying third world farmers crops which can better resist plant disease and drought, while pushing organic farming which is a recipe for starvation and destruction of our last natural areas. You and Greenpeace are the criminals here, not the scientists working tirelessly to solve the real problems of global warming and feeding a growing world population. That is your real agenda here, isn’t it? You want to limit world population, even if it means starving people to death.

          • Being one of their minions, I don’t need to tell you that we live in a psychopathocracy, and it is precisely for that reason that reality is what it is, and the planet in the state that it’s in. And it’s precisely because the psychopaths have always dominated and ruled and controlled throughout history that our history is what it was.

            But for them, our history and our present reality would be totally different. So don’t lecture ME about the corrupt fascist psychopaths who control all the levers of power – ie the so-called elites – all telling us that their GM fake food is safe.

            One word says it all about this crime against humanity (which is just ONE of untold
            numbers of crimes against humanity commited by the Inhumans) and exposes it for what it is:


            NB And for anyone who’s not aware of it, psychopaths make up about 4% of any given population. If you don’t believe it, do some research, and check out some books on amazon.

          • SERALINI! HA! HA! HA! HAAA! HA! HA! Mr. “Retract my bogus study and republish in a pay-to-play journal” himself! He’s a homeopathy psychopath too, just like Prince Charles! I agree with you that it takes a certain amount of crazy to rise to the top in this world. Look at Trump, Putin, Kim Jong-un, etc. But there are many good, good people in this world too. I happen to believe that scientists (real ones, not ones like Seralini) are good people who hit the books in college, then work hard in labs, behind the scenes, to come up with discoveries that enhance all our lives. They gave us vaccinations against polio, antibiotics that cured diseases (for a long while at least), gave us all these labor saving/productivity enhancing devices, these things and so many more we take completely for granted without realizing how revolutionary they were. Virtually all the renet used to clot cheese today is produced through genetic engineering. Likewise all the artificial insulin used to save diabetics has been genetically engineered. You merrily eat cheese without giving this a second thought. Your opposition to genetic engineering in principle (“this crime against humanity”) would condemn millions and millions to a diabetic coma and death. Get a grip on yourself! Genetic engineering is nothing but a breeding method! It is not an ingredient! You might as well say you are opposed to humans conceived in a test tube or doggy-style vs. missionary style! It is a means, not an end! I will allow you to be skeptical of corn engineered to be resistant to Roundup, BUT HOW CAN YOU (and Greenpeace) BE OPPOSED TO ADDING VITAMIN A TO RICE???? Opposition to genetic engineering is irrational. Genetic engineering might be the only chance we have to recreate the “Green Revolution” we need to feed the booming world population. I challenge you to reconsider your fanaticism on this subject. Is it really as reasonable as you think? If Mr. Nye “The Science Guy” can come around on this topic, so can you! If Mark Lynas can go from anti-GMO fanatic to being pro-GMO, you can too! Will it really hurt so much to change your mind? Why be stupid one second longer than you have to?

          • Yeh, yeh, yeh, Stuart, I’ve heard it all before. Were you hoping I hadn’t noticed that you stll haven’t answered my question. Do I really need to repeat it.This is the third time!

            The reality is that you don’t answer it because you CAN’T, and you just come out with bunkum about Greenpeace ‘covering’ for the groups that trashed the GR plot . And in precisely what way does Greenpeace “cover” for those groups Stuart?…….yet another question you’ve avoided answering because it’s a completely false accusation and has no bearing in reality and, as such, you CAN’T.

            The groups involved don’t try to deny or hide the fact that they did it, and speak about it openly on their websites, so why would Greenpeace have to ‘cover’ for them?

            You shills DO love to double-down don’t you, and then double-down again! It’s just one Big Lie and deception on top of another. Just yesterday, for example, I came across an article headlined ‘Who paid for the golden rice eco-attack?’, and in the following article – yep, you guessed it! (as I already had of course) – implied it must have been Greenpeace (and threw in FoE and FoodFirst, just for the hell of it). Needless to say, no-one paid anyone, and it was just blatent propaganda fabrication.

            It takes evil twisted minds to come up with all this stuff, dark, devious, conniving, manipulating psychopathic minds, devoid of conscience and emotions and integrity, as psychopaths ARE of course. The very antithesis of Human Beings. Have a good day Stu baby.

            PS (NOT for the shills of course!)

          • You know, I don’t bother to answer loaded questions like “When did you stop beating your wife.” I never said that Greenpeace was responsible for the deaths of anyone. Mark Lynas did. I do think they are responsible for misinforming people about the safety of genetic engineering and Golden Rice. I don’t know about the level of their involvement in the Golden Rice test field destruction in the Philippines. BUT they sure defended it and tried to justify it. That makes them complicit in my book. And I feel I am in very good company: as the article above stated, 107 Nobel laureates signed a letter asking Greenpeace to stop their anti-GMO campaigning and specifically their opposition to Golden Rice. And here it is from the horses’s mouth. Peter Moore, A CO-FOUNDER OF GREENPEACE, said:

            “I’m still proud of the work Greenpeace did during the 15 years I was in the leadership. I left because it had drifted from a humanitarian effort to save civilization from all-out nuclear war to an organization that sees humans as the enemies of the Earth. How else could it justify its opposition to Golden Rice?…” and

            “Greenpeace has made a concerted effort to block Golden Rice’s introduction since it was announced in 2000.” and

            “The organization has waged a campaign of misinformation, trashed the scientists who are working to bring Golden Rice to the people who need it and supported the violent destruction of Golden Rice field trials at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines.”

            I welcome you to read his entire article, I wouldn’t want you to accuse me of cherry-picking:

            I notice you didn’t answer my question. I thought you liked loaded questions, so I will repeat mine: “Why be stupid for one second longer than you have to?”

    • Yes, they are a temporary fix whose supply could be cut off by political instability or economic recessions. Best to have folks grow as much of this locally as possible

    • I have heard this for many years from shills for Greenpeace, “Just give them a pill.” Well, don’t just sit there, start organizing the effort, raise the money. Oh, you and Greenpeace didn’t mean that seriously? Oh darn, I guess pills just aren’t “embedded in the cultural, historic, agronomic, economic and public health contexts” of these people…

    • Vitamin A capsules (VAC) have been distributed since the early 1990’s. They undoubtedly have saved millions of lives. But as the figures in the tables above indicate, there is a still a huge public health problem with vitamin A deficiency, which current interventions have not fixed. There are anyway some age limitations on how VAC’s can be practically used, and there is an ongoing cost associated with their use, which has to be paid for somewhere. Biofortification of staple crops, such as Golden Rice with provitamin-A, potentially provide sustainable cheap and effective additional interventions for major micronutrient deficiencies.

    • effectively speaking they are giving it away. The only price being charged is that for production, someone has to pay for the fuel to grow it and ship it. After that the traits are non patented and can be freely bred into local race lines. Your comment displays a delusional idea about how the world works.

    • Keith, the creators – Professors Beyer and Potrykus, of the nutritional trait in Golden Rice have donated the trait for free of charge use in public sector owned rice varieties in developing countries by resource farmers. It is a license term agreed with the government agencies involved, that there will be no charge for the trait, which will cost the same as white rice. No individual nor organisation involved with the development of Golden Rice has any financial interest in its adoption. This is a humanitarian effort!

  3. Why would you spend hundreds of millions of dollars to create this when for a tiny fraction of that you can teach farmers to grow high beta carotene vegetables in the berms along the rice fields or provide supplement tablets for .00001% of the total cost!
    Malnutrition is way beyond one single nutrient

    • Why would we invest in a large project? Oh, I don’t know, unless maybe because putting something as fundamental and widely grown as rice into production will result in tens of billions of dollars worth of continuous food production that will correct and prevent hundreds of thousands of cases of vitamin A deficiency while you’re still screwing around planting and harvesting tiny odd lots of veggies totaling tens of dollars and distributing tablets at a cost of tens of millions of dollars after corrupt bureaucrats take their cuts to alleviate a few hundred instances of vitamin A deficiency. Maybe something like that?

      The sheer volume of acres with potential for golden rice production compared to the piddling square feet of berms that may be suitable for growing carrots or whatever should provide the intelligent person a clue to the respective quantities of beta carotene that could be routinely produced and consumed. Yep, it should be a pretty obvious clue. It must take a lot of conviction and relentless attention to ignoring detail for one to remain so wonderfully clueless.

    • Why would we invest in a large project? Oh, I don’t know, unless maybe because putting something as fundamental and widely grown as rice into production will result in tens of billions of dollars worth of continuous food production that will correct and prevent hundreds of thousands of cases of vitamin A deficiency while you’re still screwing around planting and harvesting tiny odd lots of veggies totaling tens of dollars and distributing tablets at a cost of tens of millions of dollars after corrupt bureaucrats take their cuts to alleviate a few hundred instances of vitamin A deficiency. Maybe something like that?

      The sheer volume of acres with potential for golden rice production compared to the piddling square feet of berms that may be suitable for growing carrots or whatever should provide the intelligent person a clue to the respective quantities of beta carotene that could be routinely produced and consumed. Yep, it should be a pretty obvious clue. It must take a lot of conviction and relentless attention to ignoring detail for one to remain so wonderfully clueless.

    • I don’t know! Maybe, because it will cost a lot more to teach farmers to grow vegetables that are not easily available in their regions, than to simply provide them with a breed of rice, which they already know how to cultivate and is a staple of their diet? Ah also, providing supplement tablet requires a huge logistics that does cost a lot and will simply make them more dependant on governmental programs, probably run and financed by humanitarian NGO, as the government officials themselves are often so corrupt and not to be trusted. Or, are you saying we should change their way of life to make sure they never need to rely on GMO, is that it?

    • Excellent First World solutions! And why can’t they just buy the appropriate vegetables at their neighborhood Super Walmart or Whole Foods? Those annoying resource-poor farmers in developing countries. Why can’t they just grow carrots?

      Rice grows in those areas and people are accustomed to eating it. Vegetables are much more difficult to produce than grains, and success with supplements would be dependent on external production and transport, and on the willingness and conscientiousness of the people in using them. All of these things combine to make use of vegetables and supplements unacceptable.

  4. If what you say is true about vitamin A pills being provided for free to the Philippine people, that’s great. I hope it solves the problem. But that still doesn’t excuse Greenpeace’s unscientific opposition to a perfectly safe technology that would have possibly also solved the problem hadn’t they fought it tooth and nail since 2000, as Patrick Moore said. The field trials, had they been successful, might have led other countries with vitamin A deficiency problems to consider the Golden Rice. The idea that any “evil corporation” was going to make any money off of Golden Rice, now that’s “black propaganda.”

    • I admire the two of you Stuart and Howard for persistence! I have been alerted to your ongoing discussion of issues arising from my Genetic Literacy piece in June 2016 — that alone amazed me – and have followed it for a few days! I have a couple of papers being published over the next few weeks which will perhaps assist you, and if you – or anyone else – would like me to e mail you pdf copies when they are available please e mail me at : [email protected] putting ‘send new papers’ in the header, and i’ll be pleased to oblige. In the meantime, thanks for your interest. Best wishes, Adrian

    • A couple of posts ago Stuart you stated: “I never said that Greenpeace was responsible for the deaths of anyone.” But in your latest post you say: “…….But that still doesn’t excuse Greenpeace’s unscientific opposition to a perfectly safe technology that would have possibly also solved the problem hadn’t they fought it tooth and nail since 2000”, which can only possibly be interpreted as you saying that but for Greenpeace’s opposition, Golden Rice would have been helping to resolve the problen of VAD a long time ago, right?, which of course implies that Greenpeace ARE responsible for people dying. Many, many people dying (and we all know that it’s mainly young children who are dying).

      The very next thing you say (in your latest post) is: “The field trials, had they been successful, might have led other countries with vitamin A deficiency problems to consider the Golden Rice”. I don’t follow Stuart……what are you talking about? What field trials? Please correct me if I’m wrong, but you appear to be saying that there were some field trials, but they weren’t successful for some reason, but if they HAD of been, it might have led other countries with VAD problems to consider Golden Rice. Would you mind elaborating so that I – and anyone else that may be fpllowing our little tete-a-tete – can be clear about precisely what it was you were saying. And don’t forget to explain about the glaring contradiction I pointed out above re Greenpeace. Cheers Stu.

      PS And who was your last point aimed at? In other words, WHO has claimed that Golden Rice will be a money-making enterprise? You didn’t mean Greenpeace I take it?

        • Yes, I know he likes to sue people for liable, but we in America are a bit more rough and tumble than Europeans. Everyone knows he submitted a bad study to the Food and Chemical Toxicology journal that was first published but then retracted by the journal for being “inconclusive.” Very peculiar for a scientific study, Seralini timed its release to coincide with a book and movie he had made about the study. He released his “findings” early to journalists if they agreed not to discuss it with any scientists. This certainly resembled more of a propaganda campaign than any real research. It’s all there in the Wikipedia article.

          Oh, and as far as the journal goes where Seralini republished his retracted “study,” I was led to believe it was a pay-to-play journal by this:

          “On June 24, 2014, the retracted study, in expanded form was republished with the title “Republished study: long-term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize” without peer review in an obscure predatory pay-for-play open source journal, Environmental Sciences Europe—where Seralini had published before. The journal has an estimated Impact Factor of .55. That would place it about 190th out of the 210 journals in the “environmental sciences” category at Thomson Scientific.”

          This is extracted from

      • My comment was in general that Greenpeace and anyone else like you who oppose and campaign against genetic engineering for completely unscientific reasons are holding up needed progress and regulatory acceptance regarding food resilience to disease, biofortification to alleviate nutritional deficiencies and the lessening of agricultural impacts on the environment. If it hadn’t been for such fanatic opposition, the Philippine government might not have required extensive testing and the Golden Rice might have been planted much earlier. And ripping out and trampling a test field rarely helps the testing process, I hope you would agree. Whether Greenpeace actually provided some of the “activists” apparently couldn’t be proven, but their defense of the action certainly suggests they were complicit.

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