The GMO ‘Golden Rice’ Experiment was an Ethical Disaster – One Shocking New Development
What GMO apologists will constantly tell you is that genetically-modified food is essential to feed the world.
They’ve spent so much money on lobbying and influencing politicians – $572 million from 1999 to 2010 – that a majority of people in Washington D.C. have actually come to believe this nonsense. (University of Michigan’s Catherine Badgley explains here why organic can feed the world.)
But GMOs, we are told, won’t just feed the world. They’ll supposedly nourish it as well.
One prime example of this is GMO ‘Golden Rice’, which was touted as a way to help solve a major global health problem by providing kids adequate amounts of Vitamin A.
A deficiency in Vitamin A causes blindness in 500,000 children each year, half of whom die within 12 months after losing their eyesight. (The GMO rice contains beta-carotene, which converts into vitamin A once inside the body).
However, a few new revelations surrounding ‘Golden Rice’ don’t make it seem so golden. Revolting is actually a better word.
Last year, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition announced that it would retract a paper from the Tufts University professor who claimed that GMO ‘Golden Rice’ was an effective Vitamin A supplement.
Major ethics violations.
The children, parents, and teachers were not informed that the rice was genetically-engineered, that it was ‘Golden Rice, and that there were health risks with consuming this rice. Greenpeace accurately dubbed these 24 unknowing victims as “guinea pigs”.
In an attempt to stop the retraction from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dr. Guangwen Tang, the Tufts University professor and author of this paper, filed a complaint and motion for a preliminary injunction against the journal’s publisher, the American Society for Nutrition.
On July 17th, just a few weeks ago, a Massachusetts Superior Court ruled that the publisher could retract the paper and on July 29th, it did so. The American Society for Nutrition had this to say why it retracted the study.
— The authors are unable to provide sufficient evidence that the study had been reviewed and approved by a local ethics committee in China in a manner fully consistent with NIH (National Institute for Health) guidelines. Furthermore, the engaged institutions in China did not have US Federal Wide Assurances and had not registered their Institutional Review Board (or Ethics Review Committee).
— The authors are unable to substantiate through documentary evidence that all parents or children involved in the study were provided with the full consent form for the study.
Fortunately, this paper is now gone for good.
But the more shocking development, which has received close to zero media attention, centers around how the clinical trials for this GMO ‘Golden Rice’ were conducted.
While the American Society for Nutrition made its decision to retract the paper based solely on ethical considerations, there appears to be very serious scientific objections to this study as well.
As reported by The Ecologist, the website says the following:
A further objection raised to the scientific work is that the children were fed a diet rich in fat and protein – both of which would artificially raise the absorption of the beta-carotene, which is fat soluble. The meals comprised 20% fat by energy content and included 100g or 110g of pork meat, also eaten with egg, spinach and tomato soup.
Given that Golden rice is promoted as a means to raise the standard of nutrition among poor and malnourished children, a diet so rich in meat, fat, protein and vegetables is unrealistic and thus uninformative as far as the enhanced nutrition of the ‘target group’ is concerned.
Indeed, anyone eating so rich a diet as that given the the child subjects would be at little danger of suffering from vitamin A deficiency in the first place, since spinach, along with other green vegetables, is a good source of the necessary nutrients.
If in fact the kids were fed (1) a diet rich in fat, which would artificially and purposefully raise the absorption of beta-carotene and (2) a diet that in no way mimics that of a malnourished child in a developing country, it is pure and utter manipulation to get the desired results.
Can you imagine for one second what would have happened if there were no ethics violations and, thus, the scientific concerns were never uncovered?
These manipulated results would have been sold to politicians around the globe that GMO ‘Golden Rice’ is the answer and GMOs do benefit the world, despite what GMO-opponents say.
This example of what happened in China is exactly why we cannot trust “independent, objective studies” that claim GMOs to be perfectly safe.
There is an agenda in our country to push GMOs, and nothing appears to be out of bounds.