Health Canada is obligated to approve Golden Rice

Health Canada’s decision to approve Golden Rice as safe for sale in Canada is the right move, despite complaints by some who are questioning why the government department is even looking at the genetically modified food.

The announcement came last month, after Heath Canada concluded that Golden Rice “did not pose a greater risk to human health than rice varieties currently available on the Canadian market.”

This is despite the fact that Golden Rice, a GM food that is enhanced with vitamin A, is not intended for sale in Canada. Its market is developing countries where white rice is a staple in the diet.

The World Health Organization says some 124 million people have a chronic vitamin A deficiency because of their diet. Up to two million people die each year of vitamin A deficiency and up to half a million children a year go blind.

This suffering could be alleviated quickly with the introduction of Golden Rice into farms in those areas.

Ideally, people would eat a more balanced diet with leafy vegetables and fruits, but that isn’t happening in many places, and it won’t happen for many years, even with the best efforts.

Golden Rice isn’t the entire solution, but consuming about one cup a day would help alleviate the vitamin A deficiency.

It is the logical thing to do, but opponents — most notably Greenpeace — are campaigning against its introduction into developing countries on flimsy arguments, chiefly that Golden Rice could be contaminated with other GMOs and that the initiative is a ploy for GMO producing companies to get a foothold in the developing world.

They also say that a food supplement program combined with more diversity in farming would be a better long-term solution.

Fine, but it’s not happening. This is subsistence farming. Supplement programs are expensive. And diversification in farming is not as easy — culturally and practically — as opponents say.

The real issue with Golden Rice is that it’s a GMO, which Greenpeace and other opponents despise so much that they are willing to watch millions of people suffer and die rather than give an inch to science.

In 2016, 107 Nobel laureates in the areas of medicine, chemistry, physics and economics published a letter beseeching Greenpeace to stop fighting the introduction of Golden Rice in the developing world, arguing the organization’s campaign is “a crime against humanity.”

The letter notes that Golden Rice “has the potential to reduce or eliminate much of the death and disease caused by a vitamin A deficiency, which has the greatest impact on the poorest people in Africa and southeast Asia.”

Golden Rice was developed in the 1990s by two German scientists, who introduced a gene from corn into rice DNA, giving it a golden hue. It has been designated for humanitarian use, meaning that anyone who earns less than $10,000 a year need pay no royalties and can plant the seed again in following years.

The opposition to Golden Rice has fomented political unwillingness to accept it in developing countries, so it appears that supporters are now turning to developed countries, whose food security system is well established. Canada is one of those countries. Australia and New Zealand have also approved Golden Rice.

Health Canada’s decision is a responsible humanitarian gesture that should be applauded.

Greenpeace and others who deny those suffering from vitamin A deficiency a chance to live in health and dignity are engaged in a cruel idealistic folly.

Karen Briere, Bruce Dyck, Barb Glen, Brian MacLeod and Michael Raine collaborate in the writing of Western Producer editorials.


  • GinRummys

    Forgive my use of vulgarity, but on some occasions nothing is more appropriate.
    [*&!^$@] k Greenpeace.

    • Harold

      It is typical that when Industry are trying to move their agenda forward that they ignore studies and accredited scientists and instead focus on Greenpeace instead, a group easily ignored as being delusional. It is a measure that they use to take the focus away from contrary science and it works exceedingly well. Virtue signaling is the way that the GMO industry moves their agenda forward to gain their profits, and virtue signaling, not science, is the method in which Canada has been made obligated. So who obligates us other that the Industry who stands to gain the most in profit? Carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, berries, eggs, butter, and organ meats like beef or chicken liver all contain vitamin A – so why GE rice? Why GE? Secondly, with poor gut health, you can load the body with as much vitamin A enhanced Golden rice as you want but it will accomplish nothing because first it must be converted to active vitamin A in order to be utilized by the body and this takes place in the intestinal mucosa and the liver; poor gut health makes this damn near impossible but there is a industry profit to be made. Virtue signaling is the way that the Industry BS’s the public into acceptance and Greenpeace is only a deflection. I am not surprised that our politicians are so easily fooled. Greenpeace is far from the issue.

      • ed

        Fools are easily fooled.

  • RobertWager

    You really should read the science before you poo poo this. The science is clear GRII will help alleviate VAD. You apparently do not understand what it means to be a subsistence farmer or you would not have suggested the impossible of growing diverse crops.

    • Harold

      Interesting comment; where did I place poo poo other than to the comment you made – before you even wrote it? It seems to me that you are slinging the poo poo to cover over my comment. So, speaking of poo poo, tell me exactly how the body absorbs vitamin A; I would love to hear your science in detail. You don’t need to explain the science of the Golden “Miracle” Rice because that is already known; just the science of the body’s own absorption processes; the mouth, gut, pathways, organs. What exactly can a healthy gut do that a unhealthy gut cannot do? Do you have some relevant science for me or just your say so – and poo poo.
      Thanks for pointing out that crop do not grow on inhospitable lands; I’m sure that you thought that it was only the geniuses of academia who could figure that one out. I have not seen rice growing in the desert and if science technology were the answer – it would be. Because science technology is void – there is GMO technology and a consolation prize – Golden Rice, not to mention the golden lining of the pockets of the producers in return. The food of the starving is the Intellectual property of the industry who feds them. It is a damn good profitable deal to be had, if you can keep the world in starvation and at the same time intellectually own and control their food. What can be said in likeness about white rice, brown rice, and wild rice? Are the regular rice’s and their seeds only owned by those who labor or is it like GMO rice which is intellectually owned and the labor is owned and is therefore “golden”. One man (scientist) just went to jail in case you are having trouble with the question and are in need of a hint. The scientist jailed does understand the difficulty in growing “diverse” crops when Nature no longer holds the patent – but the Industry does; Is your science the science of its undoing or in blindness are the party unto it.
      If I read the industry’s science – will my comment become irrelevant or more relevant? Yes, I’m aware of the Industry’s game and poo poo. Food is no longer a basic necessity that sustains all life – it is now a commodity that sustains the Bank accounts of the global elite. Perhaps you thought that if my statements were true then you would have found them in a test tube or a data sheet or written on the first page of a science book and visible under a high powered microscope.

      • Happy Farmer

        So, there is money to be made from developing products and marketing them. What’s your problem with that? Before you answer(I know your answer anyways), consider this-How much money and time have people like you and organizations like Greenpeace spent solving blindness in the people mentioned in the article. I will have a huge amount of respect for the people who get involved in solving problems with their time and money instead of debating them with a heap of questions.
        It seems that for now there is a very clear and safe solution to the problem, but as usual it is being blocked because of emotions and not facts.

        • Harold

          I would say that it is you who have the emotions and they are certainly on display. I am all for industry and profit when profit is gained in an honest, integral, and transparent way.
          Would you say that we don’t have eyesight problems here in Canada? Why is our eyesight problems not treated with golden rice, or vitamin A for that matter? Vitamin A is known to help restore Night Vision but Vitim A is not the health of the entire Eye; eyesight requires many vitamins and a healthy gut. Can a unhealthy gut “mine” the Vitamin A out of the rice, and what is the condition of the gut that they are feeding? These questions do have answers, and apparently you don’t want the question or the answer or the debate; am I to understand that you are informed? Are the poor really suffering from vision loss or night blindness or are they only really suffering from general malnutrition, along with unclean water, lack of hydro, and the lack of Democracy? Feeding the poor is only a wealth building game to the corporation and is the reason that noting beneficial has transpired in the past forty years. What has happened in Canada in the past forty years; nothing? What enabled our advance? Isn’t it just too far of a stretch to say, that after forty years, that GMO vitamin A enhanced rice will now save the poor? Have their eyesight’s always been bad or is it only now that Monsanto has some vitamin A to sell them. How come the Christian ministries working abroad in these same countries have never claimed that the poor are suffering from bad eyesight? Did God blind the Christians eyes and they just didn’t see it in order to report it?
          Remarkable isn’t it?
          The technology to aid the poor and to promote freedom and their well being has been prevented in order to favor the wealth of the corporate Elite and the wealthy dictatorial and corrupt Government Leaders. If there is a crime against humanity, where is that crime taking place and what are we doing about it? Feeding the poor is very important, but at the very same time, giving them the power to feed themselves is paramount and the industry have not done anything to support was is paramount. With all of the so called humanitarians, why is there no heart to sanction or to destroy corrupt governments who commit demonstrative crimes against their own people and allow citizen starvation? We feed the people, while letting the corrupt persist and that seems to be the recipe of our limited and fruitless intelligence. Is GMO Golden Rice their proverbial Fishing Rod and will it ever be? You are ignoring facts in favor of upholding the virtue at all costs and playing right into the hands of deception and perhaps unknowingly supporting the profits thereof.

          Your emotions favored you to place me in the same organization as Greenpeace but I can assure you that they are not my spokesmen because I know that I can do well enough on my own. As I have already stated, Greenpeace IS FAR FROM the issue. Do the words “FAR FROM” no longer have meaning? What does Greenpeace have to do with the body’s ability to process food; can you think of what they have to do with it, because I certainly cannot. Greenpeace is being used as a corporate agenda decoy, to take the focus off of the golden rice, to place the focus on the virtue signal instead. Do you not understand and realize how deception works? Look over there – while you don’t notice what’s going on front of you; the poor will have Golden Rice on their plates in front of them – and not – “look over there” – at Greenpeace.
          I am looking at the plate sitting in front of them – and not Greenpeace.

          I too will honor anyone who is genuinely helping the people and those same corporations, but I will not honor corporate deception at any time. It is the duty of humanity to look after and to protect the weak but I am easily angered by those who deceive the honest and strong people, such as you, in order for a monitory and power gain, that is not only set over you but is also set over the weak. The generous and the good hearted represent the best people that our society has to offer but who is watching over them that they are not deceived; the chemical and seed corporations? At one time it was the government but government is now transformed into being only a leg of the many Corporations that no longer represent the people. When they say that Health Canada is obligated, do they mean Canadians or do they mean Government? The people are not the Crown Corporation so do you hear the deception? Were Canadians asked if they support the obligation or were Monsanto’s the only opinion that mattered? Do we not have any human health professionals in Canada?

          • Happy Farmer

            SO, what are you personally doing with your time and money to solve blindness-wherever it may be occurring? At least the hated Monsanto is doing something productive to solve the problem.

          • Harold

            Isn’t that interesting – I point to many flaws and you in turn take the weight of the burden of proof off of the party and put its weight of proof upon me instead. Apparently, you think that “doing something” is better than doing nothing at all. Well that adage might work well in film and Hollywood movies but in reality, doing nothing is sometimes less harmful than the event of blindly “doing something”. I am not blind to what Monsanto is doing and neither are they.
            What do you personally know about blindness and Golden rice to claim, “Monsanto is doing something productive to solve the problem”? Do you agree that there is blindness in those countries without verifying any facts? If Monsanto said it – it must be true; no conflict of interests?

            You asked me what I am personally doing about blindness. I wore glasses for 40 some odd years and I have recently restored my vision (two years ago) using only simple eye exercises, and have since thrown my glasses away because I no longer need them. Before I started my eye exercises, I was near-sighted and also needed bi-focal lenses in order to read but also needed an accompanying magnifying glass to read any fine print. Eye exercises performed three times daily, and two months later, I was no longer in need of glasses or a magnifying glass. Now, I only do the exercises occasionally to maintain good eye health. This was all done without surgery, drugs, or any medical intervention of any kind. Notice that I did not mention vitamin A or rice and that was because it was not used and it was totally irrelevant. What did all of this freedom cost me? Nothing – It was totally and absolutely provided 100% free of charge and the instrument used was a free downloaded printable copy of a Tibetan wheel, a simple piece of paper. One other downloaded simple piece of paper was an eye chart; the same lettered and numbered one that you find in any Doctors office. I used it only to verify my progress and placed on a door and at the appropriate distance; from blurry and double imaged the images soon after became sharp. Do you expect that the Industry would tell you of such a thing, or do you think that they would keep this a secret and under wraps? It is called the Bates Method and if you are at all interested, you will find the method on the internet. If you are not at all interested, you will make your way to your next appointment for an eye exam and lens adjustment. To me, it does not matter what you do or what you believe. People with glasses see me without glasses and I am evidence yet they have no desire to pursue the same free treatment and freedom, and for this, I cannot understand unless I conclude that they have been helplessly and totally brainwashed by the Industry. At least industry “is doing something” about eyesight – right?

          • ed

            They are making it worse, I think is the issue here. Better to eat a little of something that has a bit of usable vit A in it than jam your stomach full of something that does not provide any. Those facts have been proven. The strictly making money by expensing out peoples health. Well that has also been proven and is also very popular no doubt. Like✔money.

  • sir_ken_g

    Yellow Rice is worthless other than as a GMO Trojan Horse.


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