Golden Rice moves towards full cultivation

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ON BEHALF of the 151 Nobel Prize winners and 13,292 cosigners supporting GMOs, we were delighted to hear of the recent announcement of the approval by the Philippine Department of Agriculture to authorize the direct use of Golden Rice as Food and Feed or for Processing (FFP).

This brings the cultivation of Golden Rice in developing countries to combat Vitamin A deficiency ever closer to realization. Its creators, Ingo Potrykus and Peter Beyer, must be exhilarated that their longtime dream is close at hand. Surely the time has come when anti-GMO activists and the green parties should join the Golden Rice developers and others working to improve human nutrition and embrace this humanitarian innovation.

GMOs are not dangerous, and the scientific evidence is overwhelming that they are safe. Importantly, while their use in Europe and the industrialised countries may not be essential for their food security, in the developing countries they offer a crucial approach to breeding better crops, alleviating hunger and providing better nutrition more sustainably.

If Europeans don’t want to eat GMO foods, then admit that this is a matter of choice, not one of avoiding danger. If the latter were true, why do they allow millions of tons of GMO crops to be imported as feed for the animals that provide much of their food?

I and my colleagues are greatly encouraged by this latest development in the Philippines. It is extremely gratifying to see that science prevails and the regulators have been listening. We applaud this decision and look forward to more good news in the near future.

NOTE: The author is the 1993 Nobel Prize Winner in Physiology or Medicine