Tuesday, February 26, 2013

No Longer Solely Food For Thought

Bjorn Lomborg, the original "Skeptical Environmentalist," noted in an editorial, on February 26, 2013, that "Golden Rice," a genetically-modified ("GM") form of brown rice rich in vitamin A, has been approved as a crop in the Philippines.  In it, he links delays in making Golden Rice available for planting and consumption to opponents of GM crops:
Most ironic [of the criticisms of Golden Rice] is the self-fulfilling critique that many activists use. Greenpeace calls golden rice a failure because it "has been in development for almost 20 years and has still not made any impact on the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency". But, as Ingo Potrykus, the scientist who developed golden rice, has made clear, that failure is due almost entirely to relentless opposition to GM foods, often by rich, well-meaning Westerners far removed from the risks of vitamin A deficiency.
Can Golden Rice can help alleviate vitamin A-deficiencies in the developing world better and more inexpensively than existing vitamin supplementation or fortification programs?  This question will soon no longer be solely food for thought, but food for nutrition and medicine as well.