Golden Rice with Vitamin A gets PHL landmark safety approval

Golden Rice
The Vitamin A-enriched Golden Rice has finally been approved for direct use as food and feed. Photo Credits International Rice Research Institute.

The genetically-modified and Vitamin A-nutrient rich Golden Rice has been found to be as safe as conventional rice after a rigorous biosafety assessment.

The Philippine Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry gave the biosafety permit for Golden Rice to be used as food and feed or for processing, making the Philippines the world’s first country to approve the GR2E Golden Rice.

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The approval is considered a huge milestone for the country as it has long recognized the potential to utilize biotechnology to help address food and nutrition security, environmental safety, and improve the livelihoods of farmers, according to the statement of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

“IRRI is pleased to partner with PhilRice to develop this nutrition-sensitive agricultural solution to address hidden hunger. This is the core of IRRI’s purpose: to tailor global solutions to local needs,” stated IRRI Director General Matthew Morrell’s statement on their website.

The Golden Rice bears an orange pigment beta-carotene that is genetically modified to prevent Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) and is safe for pre-school children, pregnant women, and even animals.

The beta-carotene content of GR2E Golden Rice aims to provide 30 to 50 percent of the estimated average requirement (EAR) of vitamin A for pregnant women and young children.

As of now, the Golden Rice will now carry out taste tests by the PRRI and the IRRI as they have yet to get the green light for commercial propagation – a necessary step for the farmers to grow in their fields before releasing it to the public.

The Philippines has produced a Filipino scientist who was highly recognized in Vietnam for helping their rice production.

Rice farmers in the country have faced severe challenges in 2019, and Filipinos have come together to help them, including the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, UP Diliman and UP Los Banos organizations, and celebrity Francis Magundayao.

SEND cheers in the comments below to the country’s rice agriculturists and scientists for innovating to address health concerns of Filipinos!

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Rona Mae Vicencio is a co-manager, head writer, and producer of the Music and Entertainment Department of DLSU-D's 95.9 Green FM. Rona is a freelance writer who believes in the power and influence of journalism. She uses her voice and pen for those who aren't heard or can't express themselves.