THE Government of Canada has approved the sale of Provitamin A Biofortified Rice GR2E (Golden Rice) in the country.
In order to determine whether this rice variety could be sold in Canada as food, the scientists at Health Canada conducted a scientific assessment that ensured that GR2E rice is safe for consumption, that the increased provitamin A levels posed no risk to Canadian
consumers, and that it still had all its nutritional value.
The scientists at Health Canada assessed how GR2E was developed and whether it can be toxic or cause allergic reactions. The ability of the GR2E rice in helping vitamin A deficiency in affected populations was not evaluated.
Scientists with expertise in molecular biology, microbiology, toxicology, chemistry and nutrition conducted a thorough analysis of the data and the protocols provided by the applicant to ensure the validity of the results.
Following this assessment, it was determined that the changes made in this rice variety did not pose a greater risk to human health than rice varieties currently available on the Canadian market.
Health Canada also concluded that GR2E would have no impact on allergies, and that there were no differences in the nutritional value of GR2E compared to other traditional rice varieties available for consumption except for increased
levels of provitamin A.
Health Canada’s assessment of GR2E was conducted according to the Guidelines for Safety Assessment of Novel Foods.
The approach taken by Health Canada in the safety assessment of GM foods is based upon scientific principles developed through expert international consultation over the last 20 years with agencies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).