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GMO “Golden Rice” Trial Leaves Questions Unanswered

GMO Rice Tested on Chinese Children for Sino-U.S. Research Project?

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Controversy over a report that was filed last month by environmental activist group – Greenpeace claiming that the U.S. Department of Agriculture supported a study that tested genetically modified (GMO) “golden rice” on 24 Chinese children between the ages of six and eight has prompted an investigation by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) was working on developing golden rice as a way to enhance vitamin A deficiency in countries such as Philippines and Bangladesh. The research was published by Tufts University in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in August 2012. The paper suggested that golden rice could provide a good source of vitamin A for children in countries where the deficiency is common. The allegations made by Greenpeace have sparked a firestorm on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, for the accusations that the researchers may have tested the GMO golden rice on poor Chinese children.  Some of the researchers that participated in the trail have been suspended until the investigation into the allegations is complete.

China is the world’s top producer and consumer of rice and they have approved their own local strains of GMO rice known as Bt rice back in 2009. However, the commercial production of the Bt rice has been delayed.

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