Sci/Tech Golden Rice Approved as Safe for Consumption in the Philippines

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  1. tom_mai78101

    tom_mai78101 The Helper Connoisseur / Ex-MineCraft Host Staff Member

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    Nutrient-rich golden rice—a genetically-modified, amber-hued crop—has passed a rigorous biosafety assessment in the Philippines, where it may soon be distributed to combat the country’s widespread vitamin A deficiency. The plant is engineered to be packed with beta-carotene, an orange pigment that the body converts into the essential nutrient vitamin A.

    Declared “as safe as conventional rice” by the Department of Agriculture in December, golden rice can now be legally consumed and processed. The stamp of approval makes it the first GMO crop created to combat a public health issue in a lower-income country, reports Steve Baragona for Voice of America.

    In a statement, congressperson Sharon Garin of the Phillipines' House of Representatives praised the development as “a victory for science, agriculture and all Filipinos,” according to Charissa Luci-Atienza at the Manila Bulletin.

    The Philippines is one of several lower-income countries with widespread vitamin A deficiency, a dietary condition that can cause blindness and hamstring the immune system. More than half a million children die from the deficiency each year, in large part because they don’t consume enough beta-carotene, which is present in only scant amounts in staple grains like rice.

    While vitamin A supplements have found their way into many afflicted countries, roughly 20 percent of children under the age of five remain deficient in the Philippines. To fill in the gap, researchers have pushed for the introduction of low-cost crops rich in beta-carotene.

    Read more here. (Smithsonian Magazine)

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