Here is an example of Golden Rice

Here is an example of Golden Rice

Friday, November 18, 2011

Golden Rice: Is it Worth the Risk?

The technology used in Golden Rice is not ethical or environmentally responsible in many ways. "Two genes from daffodil and one from the bacterium Erwinia uredovora were inserted in the rice genome"(Golden Rice Project Home Page) leading to a greater production of beta-carotene in the grain. The goal is to provide the right amount of the daily vitamin A requirements to the poor families that cannot afford more diverse diets This report will describe how the introduction of Golden Rice will have impacts on both the western and Asian economy. The benefits are meant to sound like only good intentions have been the main part of the development of the grain although health and ethical factors seemed to have not been considered. There are also environmental factors that should raise the question to any regular citizen how this one grain should be so widely planted as the main source of food. Therefore, all factors need equal attention and one must use common sense while informing yourself.

There are many risks in genetically modifying rice into golden rice. The risks go farther than the environmental and human health effects. There could also be a big hit to the economy. If there are going to be many investors from North America, then what will happen to them if Golden Rice becomes a big problem. The market for the Golden Rive would be mainly Asia because there are many people in this part of the world that are vitamin A deficient. Also, many of these people eat rice every day and this would be a perfect alternative some people think. Other people think that “Golden Rice is a technical failure standing in the way of real solutions for vitamin A deficiency” ("What the green," 2010). From another source they said that “Golden rice is not a ‘second generation’ GM crop as has been claimed. It involves standard first generation technology, and carries some of the worst features in terms of hazards to health and biodiversity. Rockefeller Foundation, the major funder of the project by far has withdrawn support from it. The project should be abandoned altogether” ("The 'golden rice'," ).  If Golden Rice proves to provide problems for the people that are eating it and the environment, then the investors might have a hard time un-doing that they did. Right now the global economy is very unstable. If something like this becomes a big problem then it could ruin the global economy even more and slow down the recovery from being sluggish to a stopping all together. If the world does not invest money in Golden Rice then not only could we avert a crisis that might have to deal with the effects Golden Rice has on the environment and on the people eating it, but we could also avert a problem that could bring the world’s economy crashing down.

Their are some risks to your health regarding Golden Rice that could be minor, or could be major.  The absence of animal testing data on genetically modified rice, or “Golden Rice” is worrying because Golden Rice is made to overproduce beta carotene, and studies show that some retinoids made from beta carotene are toxic and can cause birth defects.  Ingesting too much Golden Rice could also give you an overdose in vitamin A which could lead to Hypervitaminosis which can lead the body to have toxic symptoms.  Some effects of Hypervitaminosis are: birth defects, liver abnormalities, and reduced bone density that could result in Osteoporosis.  When pharmaceutical drugs are tested for safety, they are tested on animals first. If no harmful effects occur with animals, then testing on humans may begin. Golden Rice has never been subjected to feeding on animals. It is therefore criminally irresponsible to test it on humans at all.  “Golden Rice proven not safe to eat” (“Golden Rice: A dangerous experiment”, 2009)  Therefore, you should think twice before eating Golden Rice because it could effect your health in a drastic way.

The problem that is often not solved with GM food technology is the effect that a new single variety of a plant can have on the environment. In case of Golden Rice, there are several aspects of the technology that do not correspond with the rightful treatment towards our precious surroundings and other rice varieties. If this grain is to be planted as the main source vitamin a for poor communities, making up the major component of their diet, then vast fields of monoculture will result in very low biodiversity. Genetically vitamin a enriched rice "has not been shown to be stable over time"(Golden Rice: A dangerous experiment). Another great threat is the possibility for this rice to cross-over with other rice varieties thereby contaminating them resulting in traditional rice varieties to basically go extinct. The fact that Golden Rice has been in the process of being accepted by governments such as India for over ten years show ho many concerns are related to this technology. Golden Rice "has never been through a regulatory /approvals process anywhere in the world" (Golden Rice: A dangerous experiment). The ironic side to Golden rice is that the same western interests that have caused vitamin A deficiency in the first place in Asia are trying to restore this problem with a technical fix. This is proven fact because ever since agricultural models have been changed, vitamin A deficiency has resulted. Research in Southern Africa has stated that it is easier and safer to teach poor communities to grow leafy green and yellow vegetables captaining sufficient vitamin A amounts, creating a more diverse diet, healthier people, and a healthier planet with much greater biodiversity. Therefore, it is easy to say that GM foods and Golden Rice in particular have risks the greatly outweigh the benefits and are unnecessary when the growing of traditional fruits and vegetables in home gardens can provide better well-being for humans and the environment in general.
    When looking at the Idea of Golden Rice it is clear to say that there is a very big down side to it. The effect that it could have on the economy could be disastrous if all goes bad. The effects that it could have on human health are very big. It could cause birth defects, also the people that are eating it could overdose on all of the vitamin A that is in the rice, and it is not proven to be safe because there have been human or animal trials. Lastly, Golden Rice could cause poor biodiversity in the communities that it is planted in and it has not known to be stable overtime. Overall, we think that Golden Rice is a bad idea, but what is your opinion.  Do you think that Golden Rice is really worth the risk?


Internet Sources:

(2010). What the green movement got wrong. Retrieved from

(n.d.). The 'golden rice' - an exercise in how not to do science. Retrieved from  

("Golden Rice: A dangerous experiment." Take action to ban GM foods. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. <>.)

Golden Rice Project Home Page. (n.d.). Golden Rice Project Home Page. Retrieved November 10, 2011, from

Book Sources:

Stein, Mathew. 2008. When Technology Fails. White River Junction: Chelsea Green Publishing Company

(2011) New Golden Rice Partners Join Forces Against Vitamin A Deficiency Retrived from

(2011)Golden Rice grain (4)-11Retrived from