GMO ‘Golden Rice’ Tested on Kids Without Parental Consent

Truthstream Media

Beta-carotene enhanced GM rice, the “golden” child of biotech, is now hampered by a fudged study under ethics scrutiny.
A GMO study conducted in China, but funded by the USDA, tested unapproved “Golden Rice” on children without authorization, creating serious violations of ethics rules.

Tufts University researchers admitted that their lead scientist, Guangwen Tang, had broken the rules of disclosure in tests on human subjects, but maintain that their August 2012 study titled “β-Carotene in “Golden Rice” is as good as β-carotene in oil at providing vitamin A to children” remains valid.

Greenpeace China blew the whistle on what it called a scandal over a “potentially dangerous product.” Not properly informing the parents of the children used in the study constitutes a clear and serious ethics violations, the organization indicated.

The larger Greenpeace organization has played a long-term role in opposing the approval and use of “Golden Rice” to fight disease in the developing world. They and other opponents have long argued that “tried and true” methods of treating Vitamin A deficiency render the biotech “solution” irrelevant and unnecessary.

Nature.com highlighted an investigation conducted by CCTV in China, who aired a special documentary program on the ‘scandal.’ Emails turned up by reporters showed that a Chinese CDC official hid mention of the fact that the Golden Rice was genetically modified, claiming that it was dropped because it was ‘too sensitive’ to discuss with the parents of the children being fed GMOs in the study.

Many parents have since “demanded a guarantee that the rice will not affect their children’s health” as well as compensation money for the ethics breach. “If it’s safe, why did they need to deceive us into this?” a parent angrily asked China’s CCTV in their exposé.

There were further issued raised about how often the children in the study were actually fed the “Golden Rice,” with inquiries revealing that the children may have only eaten the rice ONCE during the study rather than daily over the course of three weeks.

Nature reported:
Critics note that discrepancies remain over the full details of the trial. For instance, the CDC’s investigation revealed that the children ate Golden Rice just once during the study — and not lunch every day during the three-week study as the paper states.

“How much Golden Rice did the children have exactly?” asks Wang Zheng, a policy researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Policy and Management in Beijing. “Either the researchers are lying about this now or they lied about it in their paper. It’s a serious offence either way.” [emphasis added]

According to the published study, the GM trait in “Golden Rice” that produces beta-carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A, was produced using heavy water (a technique derived from Harold Urey’s development of enriched uranium during the Manhattan Project) “harvested from a hydroponic plant system housed in the USDA-Agriculture Research Service Children’s Nutrition Research Center at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston TX.”

Along with Tang’s research conducted at the Hunan Province Center for Disease Control and Prevention in China was additional research provided by the Carotenoids & Health Laboratory, USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston.
Golden Rice has been a hot-button issue in genetically-modified politics for decades now. Proponents blame GM opponents for delaying its approval, and outlandishly claiming that they have cost lives, building upon the long-standing claims that “Golden Rice” could save a million lives per year, prevent blindness (and other related pro-GM puffery).

Slate accused anti-GMO activists of lying to get their way, reporting that groups behind the destruction of a trial GM rice field had falsely claimed farmers in the Philippines were behind the sabotage.

Biotech watchdogs like GM Watch, on the other hand, have long claimed that the benefits are less than shimmering, and that instead its real significance is in expanding the reach of GM agriculture – and companies like Syngenta who push it – in the developing world. Since 2001, activist Michael Pollan, Greenpeace and others have shown that the concentration of beta-carotene is not enough to make a ‘life saving’ or disease preventing difference – a problem worsened by the fact that cooking the rice reduces the Vitamin A content by 50%.

GM Watch explained how “Golden Rice” co-inventor Ingo Potrykus acknowledged back in 2001 that Greenpeace’s argument concerning the ineffective concentrations of beta-carotene in the rice amounted to a valid concern and notable flaw.

“I am happy to acknowledge, that Greenpeace is arguing on a rational basis… I also acknowledge, that Greenpeace has identified a weak point in the strategy of using Golden Rice for reducing vitamin A-deficiency… We will know for sure of course only, when all the standard biosafety assessments have been performed… we need far more data, than we have to date.” [emphasis added]

The current levels of beta-carotene produced by the heavy water “Golden Rice” would require children to eat between 100-150 grams of rice per day (or about 1/2-3/4 of a cup of cooked rice) in order to achieve 60% of the recommended daily allowance.

Even the Rockefeller Foundation, which long funded the development of “Golden Rice” – and, arguably, the entire “Gene Revolution” that brought genetically modified crops into mainstream use – conceded in a letter written by Gordon Conway in January 2001, that “we do not consider Golden Rice the solution to Vitamin A deficiency” and noting that “the public relations uses of Golden Rice have gone too far.”

Conway writes:
“The industry’s advertisements and the media in general seem to forget that it is a research product that needs considerable further development before it will be available to farmers and consumers.”

Yet more than a decade after industry proponents tried to knock environmental watchdogs for their critique and delay of “Golden Rice,” researchers are caught fudging their data and failing to properly inform the parents of the children used in the study that the product was even genetically modified.

If the benefits for the world are so profound, why is there so much to hide?

Woman Receives Anonymous Threats after Opposing Monsanto

Activist Post

After losing a 3-day old daughter to kidney failure, a woman named Sofia Gatica from Argentina made a decision to spearhead an anti-Monsanto movement with other mothers of sick children.

Monsanto is a biotechnology, agrochemical company which has been polluting the environment and human health with herbicides, pesticides, genetically modified foods, and other substances for decades. Numerous cases have been brought against Monsanto for biological damage and even death — such is the recent case in which farmers say the biotech giant’s creations spawned ‘devastating birth defects‘.

Near where Gatica lives, there are soybean fields covering the land where farmers spray loads of chemicals on the crops. The primary weed killer used on the fields is the one and only Roundup; the most popular herbicide used by farmers which contains the active ingredient glyphosate. Gatica didn’t initially connect the chemical exposure to her baby’s death until she noticed that many of her friends and neighbors were also experiencing health problems.

‘I started seeing children with mouth covers, mothers with scarves wrapped around their heads to cover their baldness, due to chemotherapy…There are soybeans to the north, to the south, and to the east, and when they spray, they spray over the people because there’s no distance,’ Gatica said to a Grist reporter.
In fact, researchers found that people in her area had three to four agricultural chemicals in their blood, including one chemical, endosulfan, which is banned in over 80 countries.

The researchers also found that 33 percent of the residents were struck with cancer. In other previous German findings, Monsanto’s Roundup was present in all urine samples tested at an amount of 5 to 20-fold the established limit for drinking water, showing how prevalent these chemicals really are.

In retaliation to Monsanto and their highly used chemical creations, Gatica worked to create an international movement against Monsanto with other activists. A few years ago, after co-founding a group called Mothers of Ituzaingó, she and her group initiated the first epidemiological study of the area which found high rates of neurological and respiratory disease, birth defects, infant mortality, and cancer rates more than 40 times the national average. She then continued to find researchers to study the links between pesticides, herbicides, and health problems, while engaging in protests voicing concerns over the issues.

‘We blockaded the spraying machines. We would get into the fields to block them. We carried out protests at the Ministry of Agriculture and the Health Ministry. We took sick people to the ministry,’ she said.
Over the course of a few years, mandatory buffer zones between aerial spraying and neighborhoods have been put in place thanks to the activist movement. In addition, Argentina’s Supreme Court decided that agrochemicals could not be sprayed near living areas.

However, while Gatica and other activists successfully created change, the process wasn’t necessarily easy. In fact, there were even direct threats.

“Somebody came inside my house with a weapon. I was told not to ‘screw around with the soybeans.’ I would get phone calls where I’d be told that I would only have two children the next day,” she said. “I had the police investigate this, but I was told that the file was secret,” she added after being questioned as to whether she ever found out who made the personal attacks.

Interestingly enough, previous research found that Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide Roundup exhibits direct toxicity to human cells, effectively killing them off even at low doses. The toxicity and negative impact on young children is even greater, and is most detrimental to infants or unborn babies.

Although Gatica started alone and was even directly threatened, she rose above these complications and effectively ignited change – she will not be the last.

Related stories: Monsanto’s Roundup Triggers Over 40 Plant Diseases and Endangers Human and Animal Health

US threatened ‘retaliation’ to bully EU into accepting biotech crops, cable shows

Raw Story, Dec. 20, 2010

Reacting to a French pledge to represent the “common interest” in considering biotech foods, a former US ambassador recommended publishing a “retaliation list” of European locations where genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were being grown in hopes that activists would destroy them and “cause some pain” for officials, a leaked diplomatic cable shows.

In a confidential communication dated Dec. 14, 2007 and released by WikiLeaks on Sunday, then-US Ambassador to France Craig Roberts Stapleton recommended creating the list if France and the EU continued to ban biotech seeds.

Full story