A Clear Case for Golden Rice

In some environmental circles, blanket opposition to genetically modified organisms is like taking a loyalty oath – dissidents are regarded as traitors in league with the evil biotech industry. It is time to move beyond such a narrowly ideological stance.

MELBOURNE – Greenpeace, the global environmental NGO, typically leads protests. Last month, it became the target.

Patrick Moore, a spokesperson for the protesters – and himself an early Greenpeace member – accused the organization of complicity in the deaths of two million children per year. He was referring to deaths resulting from vitamin A deficiency, which is common among children for whom rice is the staple food.

These deaths could be prevented, Moore claims, by the use of “golden rice,” a form of the grain that has been genetically modified to have a higher beta carotene content than ordinary rice. Greenpeace, along with other organizations opposed to the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), has campaigned against the introduction of beta carotene, which is converted in the human body into vitamin A.

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