Products containing traces of golden rice, which is genetically modified to produce beta-carotene, should be able to be sold in Australia and New Zealand, regulators have ruled.
It follows an application to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) from the humanitarian organisation International Rice Research Institute, which cultivated the GR2E rice line to mitigate vitamin A deciency in developing countries.
In approving the application, FSANZ stated that food derived from Golden Rice would have to be labelled as ‘genetically modied’ because it would contain novel DNA and novel protein.
The Institute wants the GR2E rice to be cultivated for humanitarian purposes in developing countries including Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines which are at high risk of vitamin A deciency (VAD) and where 30– 70% of energy intake is derived from rice.
While acknowledging that GR2E rice will not solve the issue of population-based VAD for these countries, it believes it can be a major part of an overarching strategy to reduce deciency.
Similar applications are currently under review in the USA, Canada and the Philippines.
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