Golden Rice today
I am a big fan of golden rice—rice that has been genetically modified so that it produces beta-carotene, providing vitamin A to people who have no other good sources. What’s not to like? A lot, apparently, though not much of it based on anything other than fear and hysteria.
Some fear that golden rice will poison people. No, beta-carotene is not poisonous; otherwise we’d see people keeling over in droves from eating carrots. Some say that they hate Monsanto. I hate Monsanto, too, but Monsanto has nothing to do with golden rice. Some say that GMO foods must be labeled. Well, okay, but what relevance is that? Whether the rice has a label or not, you can be pretty sure that if your rice is yellow, it is golden rice. A GMO label in this instance would be redundant. (In general, I think labeling GMO foods is a good idea. (At the llink: 13 stupid arguments against labeling GMO foods.) And I also support country-of-origin labeling.)
Golden rice is a good idea, and opponents should state specific arguments, not simply, “We should not try anything new.” That is really not much of an argument.
Here’s the NY Times column on golden rice that prompted the post.