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Originally published October 13 2015

GMO Golden Rice may cause birth defects while failing to solve nutrient deficiencies

by Daniel Barker

(NaturalNews) Scientists in Bangladesh are preparing to begin field trials in November involving the cultivation of the genetically-modified rice variety GR-2 E BRRI Dhan29, known as "Golden Rice," before beginning full-scale production of the crop in that country.

Golden Rice has been touted as the "world's first vitamin A-enriched rice", and its proponents claim it has the potential to remedy vitamin A deficiencies among populations such as those of Bangladesh and India, where the poor depend on rice for up to 70 percent of their caloric intake.

A pack of lies

However, as in virtually all of the Frankenfood industry's previous schemes, much of the "information" being disseminated about the supposed benefits of Golden Rice is nothing more than a pack of lies.

Golden Rice does not contain vitamin A

Despite the claims that Golden Rice is "vitamin A-enriched," the truth is that the GM strain contains absolutely no vitamin A whatsoever. What it does contain is beta-carotene, a vitamin A precursor.

Although the propaganda regarding Golden Rice attempts to promote it as a way to save the lives of millions of vitamin A deficient children, the fact of the matter is that children's bodies do not effectively convert beta-carotene into vitamin A.

A piece posted on the Food Renegade website notes that although many people's bodies can successfully convert beta-carotene into retinol (vitamin A), others simply cannot.

The Food Renegade piece contains a quote from an article published by the Weston A. Price foundation:

"[T]he transformation of carotene to retinol is rarely optimal. Diabetics and those with poor thyroid function, a group that could well include at least half the adult US population, cannot make the conversion. Children make the conversion very poorly and infants not at all..."

Ironically, some of the pro-Golden Rice propaganda accuses the anti-GMO movement of being responsible for the deaths of 8 million children who died of vitamin A deficiencies in the last decade.

Another huge lie. How pathetic and underhanded can these guys be?

Golden Rice and birth defects

Golden Rice might not only be ineffective in solving vitamin A deficiencies; it might also lead to birth defects in children, according to a well-known Indian scientist, Dr. Tusher Chakraborty.

Dr. Chakraborty says that Golden Rice "may carry traces of retinoic acid derivatives which may cause teratogenicity – that means birth defects in general."

He also said:

"Golden rice involves an unnecessary risk in the name of meeting vitamin A deficiency. It's a move in the wrong direction, it's a plot to divert the food culture to the wrong route."

Tainted research

If all that weren't enough, it turns out that some of the Golden Rice research on human subjects was carried out in an unethical manner. A study on the GM rice strain conducted by Tufts University researcher Guangwen Tang has come under fire because parents of the study's child subjects were not informed about the possible dangers, leading to a ban preventing Tang from doing any further research on humans for the next two years.

Last but not least

As if all of the above weren't enough to throw the whole Golden Rice scheme into serious doubt, we must not forget the fact that these types of large-scale GM agricultural projects literally spell death for small farmers.

Remember the 270,000 Indian farmers who committed suicide after expensive GMO crops failed to live up to their promise of expanded yields? In fact, nearly all of the GMO schemes have failed to deliver what they promised.

As one anti-GMO activist said regarding the Golden Rice scheme: "[it] can only be taken as a hoax to establish monopoly over rice production, and reduce rice farmers of India into bio-serfs."

Efforts to unnaturally add nutrients to one crop make a lot less sense than encouraging natural biodiversity in agriculture and human diets.

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