Public alarmed as Health Canada’s approval of Golden Rice will lead to clinical feeding trials among children in Asia

by Stop Golden Rice! Network | 28 Mar 2018


Health Canada posted its approval decision of genetically modified (GM or genetically engineered) Vitamin A enhanced “Golden Rice” last March 16, 2018 amid public concerns. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has filed application for safety approval and trade clearance of Golden Rice last 2017 to US, Canada and Australia. The recent approval of Health Canada follows Food Standards Australia New Zealand approval last December 20, 2017.

Asian farmers and consumers are alarmed urged governments to revoke these decisions. It warned that these foreign “safety stamps” will exploit weak national GMO regulations and policy loopholes to release Golden Rice in Asia and start feeding trials among children and pregnant women in Philippines and Bangladesh. [1]

“We also question why the International Rice Research Institute is seeking safety approval from Canada, Australia, and the US while farmers and consumers in Asia who plant and eat rice as a staple are left in the dark. Promoting readily available, diverse and safe Vitamin A food sources from sustainable and ecological farming is the long term solution to combat malnutrition, ensure food security and health, not genetically modified crops like Golden Rice,” said Cris Panerio of MASIPAG, a farmers and scientists network in the Philippines.

Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) also inquired on the rationale of Canada using public resources to assess the safety of GM foods that will not be sold in Canada. Eric Chaurette of the international development group Inter Pares stated that “The Canadian government has just waded into a huge global controversy that should be left to Asian farmers and consumers to decide, not Canadian regulators.” [2]

Launched in 2000, Golden Rice (GR) is a genetically engineered rice with the capability to produce beta-carotene, the precursor of Vitamin A and touted to address malnutrition and Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD). Syngenta, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation have poured millions of dollars to IRRI to develop Golden Rice in Bangladesh and the Philippines in 2011. Syngentas donation of Golden Rice technology patent for ‘humanitarian purposes” will expire in five years. Controversies and conflict have impeded its release in the past two decades.

“ We have long asserted that we don’t need GMOs which is intertwined with the used of toxic pesticides and herbicides. We have our own traditional rice varieties and sustainable ways of farming. We have also established and developed our diversified and integrated farms which is our source of nutritious food, pride and freedom.” explains Ramon Oliva, a organic farmer and community leader in Bikol. Peasant networks have successful campaigned to postponed the commercialization of Golden Rice in the Philippines last 2013.

“The approval of Health Canada and Food Standards Australia New Zealand is a product of corporate lobbying. Scientific findings that questions its viability, safety and intention were left out and social concerns were not addressed. Golden Rice will not cure blindness nor address the complex social problem of malnutrition. Instead, Golden Rice commercialization in Asia will translate to unbridled profit, massive trade of unregulated GMO rice and promotion of biofortified GM crops. This spells doom for consumers and farmers specially in Asia” says Ana Bibal, campaign coordinator of Stop Golden Rice! Network, a network of farmers and consumers alliances from more than 30 organizations in Asia who have filed petitions for governments to revoke Golden Rice approval. [3]





For details please contact:

Ms Ana Christina Bibal
Campaign Coordinator for South East and South Asia
Contact info: [email protected] 09174133109

Alfie Pulumbarit
National Advocacy Officer
MASIPAG National Secretariat, Philippines
Contact info: [email protected] (049) 536 5549

STOP GOLDEN RICE! Network Members and Allies

RESIST! Agri-TNCs Network-Philippines
MASIPAG (Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura), Philippines
KMP (Kilusang Mangbubukid ng Pilipinas)
PNSFP (Philippine Network for Food Security Programs)
SIBAT (Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya), Philippines
HEAD (Health action for Democracy), Philippines
PAN Phils (Pesticide Action Network-Phils)
TFIP (Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples Rights)
CENDI (Community Entrepreneur Development Institute), Vietnam
SRD (Center for Sustainable Rural Development), Vietnam
SPFT (Southern Peasants Federation of Thailand), Thailand
AGRA (Alliance of Agrarian Reform Movement), Indonesia
SERUNI (National Women’s Alliance), Indonesia
NWFA (National Women Farmers and Workers Association), Bangladesh
BAFLF (Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation)
SHISUK (Shikha Shastha Unnayan Karzakram), Bangladesh
APVUU (Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union), India
ORRISSA (Organization for Rural Reconstruction and Integrated Social Services Activities), India
Save Our Rice Network, India
PAN-INDIA (Pesticide Action Network-India), India
GM Free India Coalition
PAN-AP (Pesticide Action Network-Asia Pacific)
APC (Asian Peasants Coalition)
Consumers Union of Japan
Women’s Development Federation (WELIGEPOLA), Sri Lanka
MONLAR, Sri Lanka
INOFO (Intercontinental Network of Organic Farmers Organization)
TestBiotech, Germany
CBAN, (Canada Biotechnology Action Network), Canada
MADGE, Australia
Gene Ethics, Australia
FSA, Food Sovereignty Alliance, Australia
FSA, Food Sovereignty Alliance, India
TWN (Third World Network), Asia
Peoples Coalition on Food Sovereignty, Global


Author: Stop Golden Rice! Network
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