(NaturalNews) Chinese authorities are currently investigating allegations that the U.S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA) worked with Chinese researchers back in 2008 to illegally test genetically-modified (GM) "Golden Rice" on rural Chinese children. Reuters
reports that 24 Chinese children between the ages of six and eight may have served as human guinea pigs
for the project, which had never even been approved to take place by the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The so-called "Golden Rice Project" is a massive endeavor birthed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
) more than a decade ago to develop and introduce into the market rice that has been bio-engineered to artificially produce its own beta carotene (vitamin A). The ultimate goal, according to the project, is to help nourish the millions of poor children around the world that are vitamin A deficient by forcibly replacing their natural varieties of rice with GM golden rice.
Up until this point, Chinese authorities have been hesitant to introduce GM rice commercially, and have even reportedly prohibited Chinese institutions from participating in research intended to test GM rice on human subjects. But according to allegations made by environmental group Greenpeace, Chinese researchers have
been testing Golden Rice on young children
in violation of their country's laws, and with covert assistance from the USDA
"It was actually back in 2008 that we first heard of this experiment and immediately informed the Chinese
Ministry of Agriculture," wrote Monica Tan from Greenpeace East Asia in a recent blog post announcement. "The Ministry came back and assured us no Golden Rice had been imported and the trial had been stopped -- something that unfortunately appears not to be the case."
In response to the claims, the Chinese Ministry solicited help from Tufts University
near Boston, Massachusetts, to help investigate the situation, and to verify whether or not the study, which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
(AJCN) last month, was conducted outside the limits of ethical and legal parameters. The researchers involved in the study, after all, had come from Tufts
, and one of them has since been suspended while the investigation continues.
GM 'golden rice' a complete fraud
Interestingly, Golden Rice has already been shown to be nothing but a scientific fraud
. According to humanitarian, author, and environmental advocate Dr. Vandana Shiva, a single serving of Golden Rice would provide only about one percent
of the total recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, which means that an individual would have to eat more than five pounds a day
of Golden Rice just to meet the bare minimum nutritional requirements.
Not only this, Dr. Shiva says artificially boosting vitamin A levels in rice
will actually create more vitamin A deficiency
, as vitamin A must be accompanied by a proper amount of fats for proper uptake. And even if enough fats are consumed with Golden Rice, the assumption in all this is that Golden Rice is safe to consume, a theory that has never been proven
"Golden Rice was presented in 2000 as a rice variety that was genetically engineered in a laboratory to produce pro-vitamin A (beta-carotene), [but] the media hype was more robust than the science," said Greenpeace several years before the 2008 study on Chinese children even took place. "[O]ur analysis revealed that people would need to consume 12 times more rice than normal to satisfy the minimum daily adult requirements of vitamin A. Subsequent studies have questioned the very notion that Golden Rice would be effective in addressing vitamin A deficiency." (http://www.greenpeace.org
)Sources for this article include:http://www.greenpeace.orghttp://www.reuters.com