Golden rice is a genetically engineered rice that contains a plentiful amount of vitamin A, which is not normally found in rice. They do this by engineering in beta-carotene, which is naturally found in fruits and vegetables, this is where the rice gets it’s yellow or “golden” color. It was first developed a professor at the University of Freiburg in Germany, Peter Beyer. Him and his team set out on the venture to create this rice because of the high amount of deaths in children, related to a vitamin A deficiencies. Vitamin A is responsible for healthy eyesight, energy, and immune systems. All of these things may make you think that this golden rice is a true blessing to the world, but many critics believe that the consequences of GMO foods like this will be detrimental.
The Pros of Golden Rice
1. Aids In Combating Malnutrition
Since the rice is enriched with high amounts of nutrients, it helps to combat the malnutrition and starvation problem that plagues countries and regions all over the entire world. Many people rely solely on rice to their nutrients for the day.
2. Decreases The Risk of Cancer and Other Diseases
The beta-carotene that is in golden rice has an immense amounts of benefits for the body and health. It helps to significantly decrease the risk of developing certain cancers. It also greatly help to improve the health of the eyes and prevents blindness and blindness related diseases.
3. Still Being Improved
Scientists are still working very hard to be able to incorporate many other vitamins and minerals into the golden rice. Things like zinc, iron, vitamin C, and quality protein are all possible to put into the rice and further combat the malnutrition problems in the world.
4. Reduces Pesticide Use
Like most GMO crops, golden rice has been given the ability to ward off pests without the use of pesticides or other harsh chemicals. This is a huge benefit because the damaging effects of pesticide use are avoided all together.
The Cons of Golden Rice
1. Privatized Business Could Lead To Corruption
Golden rice is a movement that has been gaining a very large amount of momentum. People are donating thousands of dollars to the campaign in order to aid development. History has a pattern of corruption with these types of “miracle” projects. The more attention that this one gains, the more at risk for corruption there is.
2. Not Amazing Benefits
People have coined golden rice as the cure for malnutrition, but this is simply not the case. While there is an improvement in the nutritional value of this rice, it is not significant enough to truly help someone who is severely malnourished.
3. A Lack of Research
The true effects and consequences of consuming golden rice have not been studied enough to accurately understand the damage that they may cause. The consumption of GMO foods, in a whole, is a risky leap of faith. The research needed to fully understand what all is in this rice is also missing in action.
4. Most Nutrients Lost During Cooking
In order to be eaten, rice must be boiled or cooked in some way. Nearly 20 percent of all the nutrients and vitamins in the rice is lost in this process. The statistics proclaiming the high amount of vitamin A in golden rice is very misleading because of this fact.