Why Golden Rice?
Big $$$business?
To introduce more sickness and dependence on pharmaceuticals?
For controlling purposes?
Why do we refine the whole cereal grains in the first place,
creating imbalance in the structure of the grains?
Aren't we satisfied with the perfect design of nature?

And where do we find Vitamin A?

Vitamin A:
Retinol and carotene, promotes health of the eyes, skin and inner linings; increase immunity to infection; reduces risk of tumor formation, especially lung cancer. Best sources: carrots, winter squash, rutabaga and other yellow or orange vegetables; broccoli, kale and other dark green leafy vegetables; and nori sea vegetable.

We already find Vitamin A abundantly in nature.
The question is why should we allow this dangerous and destructive genetic game.
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The "selling" of Vitamin A rice as a miracle cure for blindness is based on blindness
The "selling" of Vitamin A rice as a miracle cure for blindness is based on blindness to alternatives for removing vitamin A deficiency and blindness to the unknown risks of producing Vitamin A through genetic engineering. More than $100 million have been spent over 10 years to produce a transgenic rice at the Institute of Plant Sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. The Zurich research team headed by Ingo Potrykens and Xudong Ye introduced three genes taken from a daffodil and a bacterium into a rice strain to produce a yellow rice with high levels of beta-carotene, which is converted to Vitamin A within the body.

The rice is being promoted as a cure for blindness since Vitamin A deficiency causes vision impairment and can lead to blindness . According to the UN, more than 2 million children are at risk due to Vitamin A deficiency. The work in Zurich was funded by grants from the Rockfeller Foundation the agency which had launched the chemical agriculture in Asia through the Green Revolution which led to erosion of biodiversity and erosion of diverse sources of nutrition for the poor. In addition, the Swiss Government and the European Community has also supported the research. Promoting it as a tool against blindness while ignoring safer, cheaper, available alternatives provided by our rich agrobiodiversity is nothing short of a blind approach to blindness control.

"Monsanto Adds Support For Golden Rice; Opens Its Genome Sequence Data To Worldwide Research Community"

Golden Pawns? Most galling, however, is the Gene Giants' capture of the whole public sector initiative. The Rockefeller Foundation (RF), among others, bankrolled public sector researchers in Switzerland and Germany to come up with something possibly useful. For good reason, RAFI and others went 'ballistic' when AstraZeneca announced on May 16 that it was taking over the further development of vitamin-A rice. Sanctimoniously promising to make the technology freely available to poor farmers in developing countries, AstraZeneca captured years of public investment at minimum cost.

It also acquired commercial rights to the public technology in the North and among large-scale farmers in the South. The company speculates that it could have vitamin-A rice in farmers' fields as early as 2003. Such a schedule for introduction would not leave sufficient time to undertake socioeconomic, human health and ecological impact studies necessary to ensure everyone's wellbeing. In RAFI s opinion, the Golden Rice deal was a rip-off of the public trust. Asian farmers get (unproven) GM rice and AstraZeneca gets the 'gold'.

"GM rice promoters 'have gone too far'"

Paul Brown, environment correspondent The Guardian (UK) February 10, 2001 "I agree with Dr Shiva that the public relations uses of golden rice have gone too far. " -- Rockefeller Foundation spokesman Gordon Conway Claims by the biotech industry and some US politicians that genetically engineered "golden rice" would save the sight of 500,000 children a year are exaggerated, according to the Rockefeller Foundation, which is funding the rice's development.

A rice dilemma for Greenpeace
The development of Golden Rice by scientists funded by the Rockefeller Foundation has presented Greenpeace and other anti-GM groups with a moral dilemma. To what extent do these groups wish to be seen as opposing a crop which, through its genetically engineered fortification with Vitamin A, may play a key role in reducing blindness in Africa and Asia which results from a deficiency of that vitamin? Should the moral crusade against imagined 'pollution' by GM crops override specific concerns for the health and welfare of some of the poorest people in the world? Greenpeace has never been comfortable with the charge that its food campaigns, led primarily by relatively well-fed people in the West, represent an elitist disregard for genuine suffering and malnutrition in less fortunate parts of the world.

It has tried to fend off such challenges by describing them as nothing more than cynical PR for the multinational biotech companies - those who stand to profit very substantially from widespread acceptance of the GM crops which they have developed. But the Golden Rice issue has always been different, primarily because it has arisen out of research by a charitable foundation which has placed the technology freely in the public domain. No 'big business' hidden agendas or exploitative motives here. The discomfort felt by Greenpeace over this issue has now resulted in highly schizoid announcements about its stance on Vitamin-A enriched rice. Their international coordinator on genetic engineering, Benedikt Haerlin, is reported as indicating a distinct U-turn by decalring that Golden Rice will be an exception to Greenpeace's routine vandalism of GM crops: "I feel that 'golden rice' is a moral challenge to our position. It is true there is a different moral context, whether you have an insecticidal or pesticide-resistant GM, or whether you have a GM product that serves a good purpose." Independent

More about golden rice

Dangers of Genetic Modification in Food and Farming

Genetically modified (GM) crops and food are being hailed by industry as the great solution to many of the world's agricultural problems. They are claimed by biotechnology companies to be safe, 'environmentally-friendly' by reducing the need for chemicals, whilst helping to feed the world's hungry. But there are plenty of good reasons to be concerned about the rapid advance of genetic engineering in agriculture and food production.

The impact on the environment . . the potential increased use of chemicals resulting from herbicide-tolerant crops the impact of broad spectrum, total herbicides used in association with GM herbicide-tolerant crops the effects of herbicide-tolerant crops on wild birds and animals the long-term effect of insect-resistant (e.g. Bt) crops on beneficial and benign insects, and on insect-eating wild birds and mammals the increasingly fast development of resistance by some insect pests to Bt and other 'in-built' pesticides genetic pollution, i.e. out-crossing by transgenic plants and gene transfer from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to other organisms the unknown interactions of genes in GM plants, resulting in changes in the biochemistry of plants with potentially damaging effects of different eco-systems the loss of variety in food crops, with these being replaced by just a few global GM 'super crops', resulting in loss of biodiversity.
Friends of Europe: Dangers of Genetic Modification in Food and Farming


By Jackie Alan Giuliano, Ph.D.
We are entering troubling times, probably the most troubling in human history. Because of discoveries in the field of genetic engineering, we are on the threshold of being able to create life from non-life, life without nature, life without woman - which many would suggest has been the goal of our male dominated society all along. What will the souls of these pitiful creatures be like? How will the value of life be reduced even more?

How will it be possible to value some animal or person that can be created in a tube, in a dish, and grow like a plant? How much easier will it be to torture and kill such a creation because it was so easy to create? How will our disconnection from the natural world increase if we create beings that are not born connected to that which has connected life from the beginning of time - a motherís womb? The possible answers to these questions frighten me. But we must ask them - relentlessly - and do everything in our power to resist the temptation of the Machine.
Healing our World article (ENS-Environmental News)
Healing our World Home page of Jackie Alan Giuliano, Ph.D.


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