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GM foods

Genetically modified rice may pack more antioxidants

Monday, March 19, 2007 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: GM foods, health news, Natural News

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(ConsumerWellness.org) Rice genetically engineered to produce more flavonoids was found to have higher antioxidant activity than unmodified rice, in a joint German-Indian study published in Metabolic Engineering. The rice was specifically engineered for the purposes of the study and has not been approved for planting or consumption.

Jump directly to: conventional view | alternative view | resources | bottom line

What you need to know - Conventional View

• Researchers from Hamburg University and the University of Hyderabad in India engineered five different strains of flavonoid-overproducing rice. The strain that was found to have the highest flavonoid levels, 10TC, also had the highest antioxidant activity.

• In tests, 10TC removed 98 percent of free radicals, compared with 77 percent removed by unmodified rice.

• The researchers' press release did not specify how antioxidant activity was measured.

• No crops genetically modified for health benefits have been approved for human consumption. In Europe, where laws require the labeling of genetically modified ingredients, consumer resistance to genetically engineered food has been strong.

• Critics of genetic engineering allege that genetically modified foods could produce allergic reactions or other unknown health effects in unsuspecting consumers. In addition, genetically modified plants have been known to crossbreed with other domestic or wild plants, introducing "genetic pollution," the consequences of which cannot be predicted.

• Quote: "The transgenic rice and its derived foods may serve as potential sources of antioxidant compounds, and this is helpful in promoting human health." - Ambavaram Reddy, lead author

What you need to know - Alternative View

Statements and opinions by Mike Adams, executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center

• Although it is possible to produce food strains with higher levels of antioxidants through genetic modification, this is no justification for unleashing crops on the world that could alter the food supply in unexpected ways.

• In terms of nutrition from staple crops, what's needed is not an increase in antioxidant activity in grains, but rather a reduction in food processing that strips out the nutrition that's already present in existing crops. Food companies actually remove as much as 98% of certain nutritional elements when processing wheat, corn and rice. The nutrition we need is already there. We simply need to conserve it by consuming more whole grains rather than processed grains.

Resources you need to know

• More about genetically modified foods (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_mod...)

• More about antioxidants (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antioxidants)

• The Honest Food Guide (http://www.HonestFoodGuide.org)

Bottom line

• Research scientists have engineered a test strain of rice with higher antioxidant activity than regular rice.

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