• Jeffrey's Take: The Philippines approves Golden Rice - A disaster waiting to happen - Jeffrey Smith
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Hi everyone! This is Jeffrey Smith and I’m reporting on the news development that the Department of Agriculture in the Philippines has approved genetically engineered golden rice to be, “As safe as conventional rice. ”

What a disaster this is! This is incredible! Now, a lot of people think that golden rice is the example of why we should be allowing genetically engineered foods into the diet because it’s designed to provide vitamin A for vitamin A-deficient children who are suffering from blindness and death. On the cover of TIME magazine, they say “This rise could save the lives and health of, you know, thousands or millions of children each year.” Well, this is all false hype.

Let’s go through this and find out the truth behind GE golden rice. First of all, rice is a staple in parts of Asia and other places. So we are considering genetically engineering something that will be eaten three times a day. If there’s any health issue associated with it, it could be a disaster.

Now, the Philippines Department of Agriculture and Bureau of Plant Industry said that it reached its decision for approval after rigorous bio-safety assessment. We say, “Where was that?”

No animal feeding studies have ever been released to the public and the human trials that were done focused on the ability of the subjects to absorb the beta carotene – which is the precursor to vitamin A – but did not test for safety.

In fact, professor David Schubert of the Salk Institute published a peer-reviewed journal article in 2008 discussing that the beta carotene has derivatives that are known to cause birth defects, and this has never been tested. He put this out 11 years ago and they have never tested to see if the beta carotene in this rice that they now approved could result in birth defects.Yet their literature talks about giving it to pregnant women, and children. It is an absolute nightmare.

Now, it turns out that the beta carotene levels are so low that the FDA said, “You can’t even make a nutrient content claim because they’re too low.” But that’s not necessarily going to protect against birth defects because the way that the beta carotene derivatives cause birth defects is through damage to the DNA and that can accumulate over time – more and more damage.

More rice, and more damage could result in birth defects. Now, it was recently discovered the beta carotene degrades substantially in storage. So if you’re storing your rice for six months or a year, which is very common, the amount of beta carotene goes down dramatically. So it becomes less effective, but it breaks down into products that haven’t been tested and those products will accumulate in the rice. There’s never been any single research showing that the breakdown products are safe.

Furthermore, in order for the body to metabolize the beta carotene and turn it into vitamin A, it needs fat. So in the human trials, the rice was given with butter. The whole purpose of the golden rice is to give to impoverished people who can’t afford simple additions to the diet that contain far more vitamin A than this genetically engineered rice.

You can give sweet potatoes and all sorts of things which have high levels of vitamin A, but they’re saying, “Well, as long as they’re eating a lot of rice, we might as well put the vitamin A in the rice,” but in order for them to get the vitamin a, they need to have butter or other types of fat. But if they’re so poor and they can’t afford to have these other additions, they’re not going to be able to afford the fat or butter.

Now, it’s interesting that the reason why they’re eating so much rice -it’s not the long tradition in Asia. It was because in the Green Revolution in the 60s they promoted a single-crop diet by promoting a high yielding, inexpensive rice. It has dominated the once diverse Asian diet since then with disastrous consequences.

In fact, 60% of all people suffering from diabetes are in Asia, 90% of whom suffer from type two diabetes. Scientists from Malaysia’s Endocrine and Metabolic Society claim that the soaring obesity rate in the country is not due to Western junk food but to white rice.

So you have white rice causing disease because it’s now dominating in the food because of a Western introduction called the Green Revolution. Instead of providing a more diverse diet, they want to impregnate the rice with something that’s questionable and potentially dangerous.

Now, the Philippines already managed to slash their vitamin D deficiency from 40% in 2003 to 15% in 2008. There are so many different groups that have effective solutions to vitamin A deficiency. In fact, you can take two doses of vitamin A, one every six months of mega doses, and eliminate the conditions associated with vitamin A deficiency.

Many people talk about giving people the ability to garden and to grow some of these rich diverse foods. But in this case, one group says, “The approval of golden rice does not address the root causes of poverty and malnutrition, but it risks blindly reinforcing it.” Interesting. ”Blindly.”  I liked that term because they claim it’s going to prevent blindness even though it might not do anything of the sort and it might lead to serious diseases.

What was not mentioned here in this article was also that they used daffodil genes and there’s something called daffodil pickers rash. There’s the possibility of transferring allergens into the golden rice so some people could be allergic to it and I also want to point out that very few places on earth have their staple food as a genetically engineered crop.

One example is in Southern Africa. I spoke to a former Monsanto scientist who was aware that when rats were fed Monsanto’s GM corn, it damaged the rats and Monsanto simply rewrote the study to hide the effects. He was shocked.

He said he was concerned because the amount of corn that the rats ate, which was probably a maximum of 33% and only for 90 days, was a fraction of what’s eaten as a staple in Southern Africa. What would be the impact of them eating it three times a day every day throughout their lives?

Well, I spoke to a veterinarian in the US whose client was a farmer in South Africa, and this is reported in the movie Genetic Roulette, and I’ll just say briefly that his farm workers were suffering from serious symptoms and very frequent deaths when they were eating the genetically engineered corn three times a day that was grown on his property.

No one put it together, but his animals were suffering until he switched to non-GMO corn at the advice of the veterinarian, and the animal’s health got better and the farm workers got better. Until he ran out of the corn and both the animals and the farmworkers had to then get corn from the marketplace. Both ended up suffering again until non-GMO corn was secured year-round.

That’s an anecdotal story, but it’s about the canaries in the coal mine – the few people in the world that were eating more genetically engineered corn than anyone on the planet.

Here we have the staple of parts of Asia, genetically engineered. Very bad idea. It’s being reviewed now by Bangladesh and at some other point, I’ll share with you how they have lied about the success of the genetically engineered eggplant in Bangladesh, paving the way to approve the genetically engineered golden rice as well.

It is very unfortunate and I wish that this information could get to the light. Please share this.

Safe eating