Thursday, 26 September 2013

Golden rice debunked: ten blatant contradictions and false claims of genetically modified rice

Golden rice is being touted by GMO advocates as a miracle cure for blindness and death. It is claimed that golden rice is genetically engineered to produce higher levels of beta carotene which the body converts to vitamin A, preventing blindness and death. These claims, however, have no basis in fact and are utterly unsupported by any scientific evidence whatsoever. In fact, those pushing golden rice are doing so as a matter of intense faith rather than science. This is especially noteworthy because those pushing it are staunch enemies of "faith" and claim to be operating solely based on science.

That's why I've assembled a list of ten glaring contradictions in the arguments of golden rice advocates, nearly all of whom have financial ties to the GMO biotech industry.

Here are ten important things golden rice advocates won't tell you about the unscientific faith in an untested, unproven Frankenfoods experiment:

#1) There is no scientific basis to claim that the beta carotene artificially produced in golden rice survives storage and cooking to actually be absorbed by those who eat it

No clinical trials have ever been conducted showing that the beta carotene engineered into golden rice actually makes its way from harvest, to storage, to cooking and into the human body intact. There is no evidence to support any claim that golden rice, when grown and harvested in the traditional manner of southeast Asian cultures, will actually raise levels of beta carotene in the bodies of those who eat it.

We cannot simply assume that an artificially-induced phytonutrient will survive harvesting, storage and cooking to deliver the claimed impact on human health unless it is extensively studied. The studies that have been done on golden rice and beta carotene consumption were conducted under laboratory conditions, not real-world conditions.

#2) Golden rice advocates utterly ignore the environmental risks of genetic pollution

There are no scientific studies whatsoever to show that the open-field cultivation of genetically engineered golden rice is safe for the environment. The risk of genetic pollution that might contaminate and alter neighboring rice populations has been callously and irresponsibly ignored by golden rice advocates. (This is part of the "faith" requirement to join the Church of Biotechnology.)

There is also risk that this alteration of golden rice may have unintended consequences such as creating new vulnerabilities to pests or microbial infections. These risks are routinely dismissed by golden rice advocates as if they did not exist. Murphy's Law tells us that good intentions often have unintended negative consequences. To pretend they do not exist is the height of scientific irresponsibility.

#3) There is no scientific basis whatsoever for the claim that golden rice can "prevent blindness" or "prevent death" as is being widely claimed

Where are the clinical studies for such a claim? They do not exist. With claims that it can prevent blindness or death, golden rice is now being positioned as a drug (see below) with specific medical benefits. Where are the clinical trials that prove such benefits exist at all?

Where is the science that assesses the possible side effects of human consumption of golden rice? Such studies do not exist. If golden rice is supposed to represent the best of modern science, then modern science is a tragic failure because the story of golden rice is one based almost entirely on wishful thinking -- or as some skeptics call it, "Magic!"

Yes, golden rice is a "magical GMO crop" that cures disease and saves people from death. How do we know this? Because the GMO pushers essentially tell us we should all believe in magic. Golden rice magic!

(Notice how their pet projects never need any actual science to back them up? But when they criticize medicinal herbs, even a massive collection of scientific evidence is always declared to be "unconvincing.")

#4) Claiming that golden rice can prevent blindness or death automatically turns golden rice into an unapproved drug according to current FDA regulations. All golden rice claims are actually "drug claims"

The very same people who promote golden rice also tend to be so-called skeptics of nutritional therapies, medicinal herbs, superfoods and phytonutrients. They insist that there is no such thing as any nutrient, vitamin, mineral or food that has any therapeutic effect on the human body whatsoever. (This is the official position of the FDA and nearly all mainstream science skeptics.)

Yet, magically, their golden rice is exempt from any skepticism. All claims about golden rice are automatically believed to be truth as a matter of faith, not fact, and those claims include outlandish therapeutic drug claims which are illegal under current FDA regulations.

If I grew golden rice and sold it at the Natural News Store with claims that it could prevent blindness and halt death, I would be almost immediately sent a stern warning letter by the FDA and possibly also the FTC. If I continued to sell the "magic" golden rice with such claims, the FDA would very likely raid my facility, sieze all product inventory, and have me arrested at gunpoint and charged with "drug crimes" for "selling unapproved drugs."

According to the FDA, unless golden rice is tested and approved as a drug for preventing blindness and death, it cannot be sold or marketed with such claims. And the real catch-22 is that if this magical golden rice is actually approved as a therapeutic drug, then it would only be available by prescription, not as a common food. Because, again, the FDA says that no foods have any ability to prevent, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. Including blindness.

Is it the intention of the golden rice proponents to seek and acquire FDA approval for the food as a therapeutic drug that can treat specific medical conditions? If not, then proponents of this magical golden rice are engaged in medical fraud by making unsupported drug claims.

#5) Golden rice advocates selectively believe that unproven drug claims can be made only for golden rice, but that vitamins and minerals in all other foods have no medical benefit whatsoever

All the health claims being made for golden rice are far better applied to carrots and canteloupe -- both are foods that naturally and holistically contain beta carotene. But if I pen an article on the internet that claims "carrots can prevent blindness in children," I will be viciously attacked by the very same people who are now claiming their magical golden rice achieves the same outcome.

The contradictory logic in the golden rice pushers collapses at the merest challenge. Apparently only their own magical, selected foods have nutritional benefits, but everybody else's non-genetically-engineered foods are devoid of all benefits, if you believe their twisted logic.

#6) Golden rice is being used as a political wedge to try to dismantle safety regulations regarding genetically engineered foods so that the biotech industry can dominate global agriculture with patented GMO crops

Another glaring contradiction in the argument of golden rice advocates is that the biotech industries really aren't interested in helping humanity in the first place. They are interested solely in corporate profits, and golden rice is a strategy to achieve the goal of global food domination and monopolization of seeds.

In effect, golden rice is an anti-regulatory battering ram designed to destroy regulations that currently limit the testing and deployment of GMOs. This is the goal: lower the regulations so that biotech can ramp up its global agricultural imperialism and invade every last nation on the planet with an army of intellectual property lawyers and a cabal of modified seed salespeople.

#7) Since when did GMO pushers ever believe in nutrition, anyway? If vitamin A deficiency is the cause of so much suffering, the answer is to teach populations how to grow a more diverse diet using sustainable agriculture practices

Biotech "scientists" frequently resort to the logical fallacy of false choice. In the context of golden rice, the false choice is that you either accept golden rice or thousands of people will die from malnourishment. This is a false choice because there are a multitude of other options which don't run the risk of genetic pollution or unforeseen negative effects.

Sweet potatoes, kale, carrots, squash and spinah all contain high levels of the vitamin A precursor known as beta carotene. Solving the vitamin deficiency problem with populations in Asia is no more complicated than teaching them how to grow these sustainable crops using open-pollinated, non-patented seeds that can be shared generation after generation.

Golden rice is not needed at all.

#8) GMO agriculture is, almost by definition, highly toxic to the environment. The risks of genetic pollution and the widespread use of cancer-causing glyphosate in conjunction with genetically engineered crops present a far greater health risk to the world than any lack of vitamin A in rice

If the aim is to protect life and save human lives, GMO agriculture is precisely the wrong answer. It is based in large part on crops that have been engineered to grow deadly insecticides inside each kernel (GM corn).

In so-called "Roundup-ready" crops such as soybeans and cotton, highly toxic glyphosate poisons are sprayed indiscriminately on entire fields. This not only poisons the land, the streams and the rivers, it also results in the inevitable formation of incredibly threatening superweeds which then require even more toxic chemicals to eradicate.

GMO agriculture breeds superweeds in the same way antibiotics breed superbugs. According to the CDC, superbugs are right now killing 23,000 Americans each year. And this number is expected to rapidly multiply as last-ditch antibiotics become useless in the next few years.

#9) If the goal is to help humanity, why doesn't the biotech industry give up all its patents on seeds?
As part of the strategy to use golden rice as a weapon to bring down GMO regulations, the industry has given up its intellectual property claims on golden rice. But it maintains its intellectual property claims on all other genetically engineered seeds. In fact, companies like Monsanto have been suing hundreds of farmers whose fields were contaminated with such seeds due to no fault of the farmer!

If the biotech industry really believes its products can "feed the world," and if it really believes in doing good things for humanity, then why won't it donate all its seed patents to humankind?

The answer is because the "humanitarian" cover story is a lie. The real aim of the biotech industry is to dominate the world seed supply and thereby dominate the food supply as well. This is an industry with a long history of violating human rights in its quest to destroy farming freedom and force its seeds upon nearly every nation of the world. To even think for a second that this industry has anything positive to offer humanity is a terrible mistake. Do not be seduced by golden rice into misunderstanding the true motives of the biotech industry.

#10) "Nutritional holocaust?" Or GMO death knell?
The golden rice website claims that not feeding children golden rice is equivalent to a "nutritional holocaust."

Such a label is wildly contradictory, given the industry's wholesale denial of the risk of unleashing a true genetic holocaust by tinkering with the genes of plants in unnatural ways.

The history of science is filled with horrible mistakes, unforeseen circumstances and costly lessons for those who have abandoned the precautionary principle. Good intentions alone do not ensure positive outcomes. This is evident with the history of Agent Orange (also manufactured by Monsanto), DDT, Bisphenol-A, flame retardants, thalidomide and countless other deadly oversights that have exacted a horrifying toll on humankind (see my video, below).

The genetic engineering of food crops in open fields is a foolish, unscientific practice that's practically begging for a devastating response from Mother Nature.

Today, golden rice believers and faith-followers march forward with the same delusional confidence that once emanated from believers in antibiotics or DDT. When it comes to science, false confidence is exceedingly dangerous to humankind.

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