Farmer-scientist group on GMO rice: Unnecessary, unwanted | Inquirer News

Farmer-scientist group on GMO rice: Unnecessary, unwanted

/ 08:32 PM December 19, 2019

MANILA, Philippines–The Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (MASIPAG) condemned Thursday the approval of the genetically-modified crop “golden rice” (GR2E) as food and poultry feed for processing by the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI).

In a statement, Elpidio Paglumotan of MASIPAG said: “We are appalled that the approval has pushed through despite the numerous unresolved issues that MASIPAG and many other organizations are raising regarding GR2E, mainly on its safety and long-term effects on children, women and other consumers.”

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According to MASIPAG, they sent a letter to DA-BPI on October 26 to discuss the consolidated risk assessment report and comments from respected scientists regarding the safety of GR2E. This, they said, is yet to be addressed.

The GR2E, which began as an initiative by the Rockefeller Foundation, is a genetically-modified rice containing beta-carotene (provitamin A), which is then converted into Vitamin A. Proponents say it will help address the Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) in the country. MASIPAG, however, disagrees.

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Aside from safety concerns, MASIPAG said the approval of GR2E will also threaten “the future of rice production and farmers’ control of seeds.”

“By harking on the humanitarian packaging of the golden rice, and marketing it as ‘healthier rice,’ proponents are deceiving and blinding the people from the ulterior intention of golden rice which is to usher in more genetically modified food,” said MASIPAG.

The DA-BPI, together with the International Rice Research Institute and Philippine Rice Research Institute, granted a biosafety approval for GR2E after it was found to be “as safe as conventional rice.”

Cris Panerio of MASIPAG said: “They hide behind the supposed ‘rigorous biosafety assessments’ and the debatable safety clearances from the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.”

MASIPAG is now calling on DA Secretary William DAR “to put the welfare of the Filipino people instead of the corporate-influenced research institutions.”

Edited by JPV
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TAGS: Department of Agriculture, Golden rice, GR2E, Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura, Masipag
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