September 27, 2013
Everywhere you turn in the media, GMO propagandists are invoking so-called “Golden rice” as part of a false narrative that claims GMOs will save the world. Golden rice will save a million lives, blared the cover of TIME Magazine. Golden rice will give poor people critical nutrition and end suffering, we’re told. In fact, Golden rice will even make all the poor children eating it no longer care that they have no clean water, no sustainable agriculture and no economic future, it seems.
There’s a problem with all this, of course: the golden rice hoopla is pure hokum. Quackery. Charlatanism. There is no evidence whatsoever that golden rice can treat, prevent or cure any medical condition. And since when did pro-GMO people ever care about nutrition in the first place? Aren’t they in agreement with the FDA that there is no vitamin, no mineral and no herb that has any ability whatsoever to prevent, treat or cure any disease?
The Golden rice false narrative
To understand all this, you have to grasp the claims of the golden rice fiction pushers. They say that there are millions of children dying in Southeast Asia from one single cause. And that cause is that the rice they eat does not have enough vitamin A in it. Surely these people could eat carrots and get plenty of beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. But the GMO industry doesn’t want you to think about carrots from Mother Nature. They want you to jump on board with golden rice from biotech companies.
Now, set aside for a moment the ridiculously myopic point of view that fixates on one nutrient rather than the full assortment of vitamins, minerals and plant-based nutrients humans need to survive. To the GMO pushers, there’s only one nutrient that matters, and that’s vitamin A. They furthermore believe vitamin A can never come from any other source than GMO golden rice(not kale, spinach, carrots or anything else).
Also set aside for a moment the fact that GMO crops are routinely the most nutrient depleted crops in the world because they are grown in corporate monoculture fields where micronutrients like zinc and magnesium are never added back into the soil. Instead, crops like GM corn are fed only a diet of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium (NPK) with an extra helping of BT toxin that’s grown in each and every kernel. For some reason, the idea that the entire western world is eating a known poison that destroys the stomachs of insects and animals does not bother the golden rice pushers. The only thing that matters to them is that not enough poor children are eating GMOs.
And so the myths begin: Golden rice will save the planet! Biotech is our savior! Children will be saved from nutritional starvation!
The magical golden rice myth
For the last two decades, the myth of golden rice has been invoked by GMO pushers to try to justify their agenda of 1) Owning the world’s seeds, 2) Forcing all farmers into economic servitude to Monsanto, 3) Spreading so much genetic pollution that heirloom crops all become contaminated with the genetic intellectual property of the GMO corporations.
These are the real goals of the GMO industry. Not to save lives but to control lives and dominate the global food supply. (All while dousing the entire planet with deadly glyphosate, by the way.)
But there’s a problem with the golden rice narrative: it’s all fiction. And to understand that, you have to get right down to the science — something that GMO pushers have long since completely abandoned. “RUN! It’s science!”
Golden rice myths debunked
To start with, the genetically engineered variety of golden rice is the wrong variety altogether. There are two varieties of rice typically grown in Southeast Asia: Japonica rice and Indica rice (two “families” of rice). Japonica is a dryland rice, while Indica is grown in wet rice paddies.
The genetically engineered “golden rice” is Japonica rice, which refuses to grow in the wet regions where children are most impacted by vitamin A deficiency. So the GMO industry goofed big time on this and engineered vitamin A into the rice that doesn’t need it.
And why? Because it was easier to insert the beta-carotene genes into the Indica rice. It’s a lot like that old joke where a guy loses his keys on a dark street but ends up looking for them only under the streetlight. A friend asks, “You lost your keys over there, so why are you looking for them here?” And the guy replies, “Because this is where there’s light!”
See, the GMO industry doesn’t care about which variety of rice gets artificially inserted with an unnatural gene sequence. As long as they nail something with it, they can then run the false headlines about how their Frankenfood scientists will save the world (even as they put the entire world at risk from genetic pollution).
Vitamin A precursor in golden rice may not survive storage and cooking
Getting back to the actual science of all this, first realize that this so-called “golden rice” doesn’t contain vitamin A at all. It contains beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A that the human body transforms into vitamin A.
Unless there’s some new research I haven’t heard about, there have been no studies on the integrity of beta-carotene in stored golden rice. There is no evidence, in other words, that the artificially-inserted beta-carotene even survives storage to a sufficient degree to matter nutritionally. This utter lack of scientific evidence, however, doesn’t stop GMO pushers from falsely claiming golden rice will save millions of children. This “leap of faith” by GMO advocates is utterly and wholly non-scientific and not supporting in any way by actual scientific data.
It is, in essence, belief in magic. Golden rice is a “magical” food, it seems, sort of like Lucky Charms, which are “magically delicious.”
Consider this delusional thinking by one GMO pusher:
“Golden Rice could prevent blindness and death of hundreds of thousands of children but can not do so, so far, because risk assessment notoriously is ignoring a risk-benefit analysis!” – Ingo Potrykus, April 2004 (SOURCE)
On what scientific basis does Ingo claim golden rice can “prevent blindness and death” when there is absolutely no scientific evidence to support such a claim? Ingo, like all the other golden rice pushers, is engaged in “magical thinking.” He wants golden rice to prevent blindness, so he leaps to the conclusion that it does as a matter of faith, not science.
Even if the beta carotene survives storage, there’s the question of how much beta-carotene survives high-heat cooking. While there is evidence that low-heat cooking may actually make beta-carotene more readily digestible in some foods, at high heat, beta-carotene is easily destroyed, which is why canned vegetables consistently test at lower levels of beta-carotene than fresh vegetables. Again, this has not been sufficiently studied in golden rice, so no one can really answer the question of whether golden rice will in fact deliver usable beta carotene to the bodies of people who eat it after it is harvested, stored and prepared in a traditional manner.
This fact doesn’t stop delusional thinking by GMO industry shills like Troy Goodman:
“GM food scientists have already developed a yellow rice, or “golden” rice, that is rich in vitamin A and iron and helps prevent anemia and blindness, especially in children.” – Troy Goodman (SOURCE)
Troy Goodman is, of course, making a fraudulent drug claim for an artificial food which has never been approved by the FDA to treat any health condition. The fact that these claims have never been substantiated doesn’t seem to bother Troy, though. Who needs evidence when you believe in magic? This all comes down to a matter of faith, not science. That’s what the GMO industry and all its corporate flaks ultimately add up to: a cult of GMO worshippers who don’t have actual science to back their positions, but they do have “faith” (beliefs) which defy reality.
By the way, this entire argument about golden rice presupposes that GE rice is the only way to deliver this nutrient to these children. But that’s absurd: beta carotene is easily found in all sorts of foods such as carrots and cantaloupe, none of which need to be genetically engineered to produce beta carotene.
Golden rice claims are medical fraud
Here’s where the golden rice pushers really hit a conundrum. In their golden rice propaganda, they claim that this rice prevents blindness and death.
This very claim, according to the FDA, transforms golden rice into a drug. The FDA’s definition of a drug is any substance that “treats, prevents or cures” any health condition. The FDA, in fact, uses this stance as a weapon to routinely attack and raid nutritional supplement companies. Even a manufacturer of cherry juice can be arrested and charged with crimes for claiming that cherry juice prevents gout, a claim that’s exhaustively supported by the scientific literature, including studies funded by the U.S. government itself.
So the claim that golden rice prevents blindness is, in fact, a drug claim. Yet golden rice has never been approved by the FDA to treat any disease or health condition whatsoever. GMO pushers, of course, claim that golden rice is not a drug and therefore doesn’t need approval by the FDA, but this is false. The mere claim that it treats or prevents a disease makes it a drugunder current FDA regulations (which are quite ridiculous, of course).
Here’s a professor of Johns Hopkins violating FDA regulations and making false drug claims about golden rice:
“Since a large proportion of vitamin A-deficient children and their mothers reside in rice-consuming populations, particularly in Asia, Golden Rice should substantially reduce the prevalence and severity of vitamin A deficiency, and prevent at least hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths and cases of blindness every year,” – Dr. Alfred Sommer, professor and dean emeritus, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (SOURCE)
Dr. Alfred Sommer, like nearly all other biotech pushers, is engaged in making a fraudulent drug claim for a substance the FDA would categorize as an “unapproved drug.” If Dr. Sommer sold golden rice alongside such claims, he could be arrested and charged with “drug-related crimes” and even red-flagged on Interpol as an international fugitive, just as happened to Greg Caton who sold topical cancer salves made from Amazonian herbs.
Why are drug claims selectively allowed for golden rice but no other foods, herbs or superfoods? If it is the position of GMO advocates that all food-based nutrition can be sold alongside bold claims of treating disease and preventing death, then they must also agree that all other foods, superfoods and herbs need no FDA approval, either. Manufacturers of herbal supplements, superfoods and dietary supplements offer far more than beta-carotene to consumers, yet none of these companies can make any health claims whatsoever without being threatened or even raided and shut down by the FDA.
Is it now the position of GMO advocates that everyone who offers nutrient-rich foods can now openly claim that they treat, prevent and cure disease? Of course not. GMO pushers want this claim to be selectively applied only to their Frankenfoods, not to other foods, herbs or nutritional supplements. In their minds, only beta-carotene from genetically engineered foods has any health benefit. All other beta-carotene is somehow “inert.” This is yet another blaring contradiction in the magical thinking of golden rice pushers.
So until golden rice is tested and approved as a drug by the FDA, all these claims being touted by GMO pushers are fraudulent medical claims. Unless, of course, you want to clear away all FDA regulations on the benefits of nutrients in foods and allow all food manufacturers to make scientifically-validated health claims (which would probably be a good idea, overall).
Here’s another totally false, unsubstantiated and illegal drug claim being made by the “Golden Rice Project” pushers:
“Considering that Golden Rice could substantially reduce blindness (500,000 children per year) and deaths (2-3 million per year), the parsimony displayed by the responsible bodies after 20 years is hardly understandable. – Jorge E. Mayer, Peter Beyer, Ingo Potrykus, “The Golden Rice Project” (SOURCE)
Jorge Mayer, like everyone else mentioned here, has joined the golden rice magical thinking cult and has cast aside critical thinking in his enthusiastic effort to pile on yet more fraudulent medical claims about golden rice. How does Mr. Mayer know golden rice can reduce deaths and blindness? He doesn’t. There is no evidence whatsoever to support this. Mr. Mayer is engaged in what skeptics routinely refer to as “magical thinking.”
Artificially adding beta-carotene to rice may interfere with the absorption of other nutrients
There’s a good reason why playing God with Mother Nature’s seeds is a bad idea. For starters, human scientists are short-sighted, arrogant fools compared to the wisdom of nature. This is immediately evident in the realization that beta-carotene, in isolation, actually interferes with the absorption of other nutrients such as canthaxanthin and lycopene.
In nature, nutrients appear in a natural, holistic “symphony” that creates nutritional balance in the body. But when Frankenfood scientists start playing God with seeds, they will often introduce a nutritional imbalance by inserting a gene for one isolated nutrient without considering the complex dietary implications experienced by people who eat the plant.
The case of South Asian children going blind or dying from a “lack of vitamin A,” as is often quoted in the status quo media, is such a vast oversimplification of the real nutritional challenges facing these children that the statement is akin to quackery. These children don’t need just one vitamin. They need the kind of full-spectrum nutrition that only comes from growing a diverse selection of food.
The real nutritional problems facing these kids, in other words, are not problems that can be solved by artificially inserting a few genes into rice. What these regions really need is permaculture education so they can learn to grow a more diverse diet that’s naturally rich in vitamins, nutrients, carotenoids and other plant-based medicines that nourish humans and prevent disease.
But you won’t hear the GMO pushers talk about teaching people to farm. And the word “permaculture” is considered blasphemy in the biotech industry. Teaching people to farm using heirloom seeds would be utterly contradictory to the goal of the biotech industry — total domination and enslavement of the human race by using food as a system of control.
The implication that the lives of these people can be transformed with one genetically engineered crop containing ONE nutrient is absurd. These people need permaculture. They need sustainable farming practices. They need a diverse diet of locally-grown foods that naturally and automatically produce thousands of phytonutrients, including beta-carotene. Western corporations, however, think the answer is “vaccines and GMOs,” and in that belief, the entire western system of “scientific thinking” is shown to utterly lack any real understanding about life, nutrition, compassion and ethics.
Biotech is an industry that’s far more interested in controlling people than saving them.
If you really want to help your fellow man, give him some seeds, teach him how to farm, and most importantly do not seek monopoly patents on those seeds so that you can economically enslave your fellow man. On this point, every biotech company on the planet fails the basic test of ethics and corporate responsibility. For those companies to then claim they are “helping humanity” or “feeding the world” while enslaving it borders on the criminally insane. (And in my opinion, companies like Monsanto are global criminal enterprises engaged in heinous crimes against humanity.)
Regulations are in the way of saving children!
GMO scientists and industry monopolists (like Monsanto and Syngenta) claim the only reason golden rice isn’t saving millions of lives right now is because of all those darned GMO regulations which should be completely removed. In fact, they say, any company should be allowed to plant any experimental crop it wants, right out in the open, without any oversight whatsoever. Who needs regulations when the industry itself operates with such high standards of integrity and caution, right?
In reality, their approach is more like “the environment be damned!” Who cares about genetic pollution that could cause a global agricultural holocaust when there are public relations victories to be scored on golden rice! (In other words, to push their monopolist crops, GMO companies would gladly put the entire world at risk of a global food supply collapse.)
Right now, the goal of the GMO industry is to use golden rice as a battering ram to loosen regulations against GMOs so that companies like Monsanto can seize control of agriculture everywhere around the world. Golden rice is the cover story, but the real agenda is to dominate all agricultural seeds and crops for centuries to come. And in order to achieve that, this industry will gladly unleash a steady stream of false claims about golden rice that utterly lack any scientific substantiation whatsoever.
Every single person who has joined the cult-like bandwagon of false medical claims for golden rice is now guilty of lying to the public and colluding with an industry steeped in death and destruction.
The bottom line? If you really want to help malnourished people around the world, teach them how to farm so they can grow their own nutrient-rich vegetables like carrots, cabbage and beets. GMOs are not required. All we need is open-pollinated seeds, permaculture education and fundamental human compassion rather than corporate greed.
See my related article, Golden rice debunked: ten blatant contradictions and false claims of genetically modified rice.
Action item: Link to this story using “golden rice”
If you really want to make a dent in this debate, link to this story using the words “golden rice” so that this article becomes more prominent when people search the term.
This will also help Natural News educate more people on this issue so that we can all make better informed decisions on these important agricultural issues.
The golden rice false narrative is being intentionally distorted in order to push a corporate agenda, and it’s time we stood up to the lies and told the real story on golden rice.
The world doesn’t need golden rice and more GMOs polluting the planet. What the world does need is permaculture knowledge, open-pollinated seeds and soils that are not damaged by glyphosate. It’s time to get back to protecting life rather than protecting corporate profits.
Shame on all those who keep pushing golden rice. They are destroyers of our world and instigators of human suffering. They are also delusional when it comes to clear thinking and real science.
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This article was posted: Friday, September 27, 2013 at 5:03 am