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  • Subject area(s): Engineering
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  • Published on: 7th September 2019
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It is estimated that about 250 million people are vitamin A deficient, most of them are children younger than five years old (figure …). Vitamin A deficiency is caused due to lack of fruits and vegetables and also if people do not eat a diverse diet. This could have a huge impact on humans health, because vitamin A deficiency is the biggest cause of preventable blindness and also causes many other common diseases due to an impaired immune system (Paine et al.,  2005). As seen in figure … most of the people who live in countries where vitamin A deficiency is a problem cannot buy any expensive foods. So they only have access to relatively cheap food, like rice which is known to be low in nutrients (Lee and Krimsky, 2016).   

Plants produce a lot of compounds humans need for life, but sometimes these compounds are stored in parts of the plant that humans cannot eat. As an example rice: to store rice as a food, rice needs to be polished, so the outer grain layer will be removed, but this outer grain layer is rich in micronutrients and vitamins. So you lose a valuable source of micronutrients which are produced by the plant, but are stored in parts which are not edible (ene artikel).

Biofortified crops could have so many practical and economically advantages that it seems that they have an enormously potential for the long-term sustainable prevention of micronutrient deficiencies (ene artikel).    

To meet the global growing demand for food, scientists are searching how they can increase the agricultural production. One new form to increase the nutritional and health promoting value of food is biofortification (Glass and Fanzo, 2017). Biofortification is a method to increase the nutritional value in food.

Genetically modified foods are foods of which the genetic composition is changed by scientists, these genetic changes would not have happened in nature (Glass and Fanzo, 2017).

About 36 countries have prohibited the cultivation of genetic modified crops, because these crops could cause potential harm to the biodiversity (Glass and Fanzo, 2017).

The  International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) studied if golden rice could cause any harm to the environment. The IRRI suggests that Golden Rice is unlikely to have an impact on the biodiversity and that it is unlikely that golden rice will become a weed, so that it will not outcompete the other rice varieties (Moghissi et al., 2016).

No evidence indicates GM foods are riskier to health than conventionally bred crops.

Effective communication strategies are very important to inform the public about GM foods. A lot of people do not understand what GM foods are and how they are made. Most of their knowledge about GM foods is made by what they hear in the media. Most of this information is from one ethical viewpoint. Future education strategies are important to inform and help improve the image of GM foods (Glass and Fanzo, 2017).

But in many countries, where rice is the primary food source, poverty and infectious diseases have the upper hand. Because rice is the primary food source, the absence of a diverse diet gave rise to vitamin A deficiency (Moghissi et al., 2016).

Golden Rice was created as a humanitarian project, because rice is one of the most cultivated crops in the world. Golden Rice is a rice variety that contain synthesized beta-carotene, which is a precursor of vitamin A. Golden Rice was invented in 1990 by Ingo Potrykus at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Moghissi et al., 2016).

Different authorities in the US evaluate if a genetically modified organism (GMO) is safe, they focus on three aspects: the first aspect is if GMO food have the potential to cause new allergens. The second aspect is whether GMO processed food contain any toxins. And the third aspect is if the nutritional composition of the GMO food is different than from the original crops (Moghissi et al., 2016).

Golden Rice (Oryza sativa) is a genetically modified rice species that produces b-carotene. Golden Rice was invented by Ingo Potrykus to help … vitamin A deficiency (VAD), which is a major global health problem (Al-Babili and Beyer, 2005).

Golden Rice is produced by genetic engineering, which is the only way to produce is so far.  

It is estimated that vitamin A deficiency is one of the most serious issues in developing countries for economic development since malnutrition affects labor productivity (Lee and Krimsky, 2016).   

Golden Rice has become one of the major targets of anti-GMO groups. They destroyed Golden Rice field trials in the Philippines. These anti-GMO groups are against Golden Rice for several reasons, but their main reason would be, if Golden Rice would be allowed then it will open the entire GMO application (Lee and Krimsky, 2016).   

Another problem would be that many children with VAD also suffer from protein-energy malnutrition. This could .. the absorption of β-carotene or its conversion to vitamin A, because the conversion of β-carotene to vitamin A depends on the presence of fats and proteins (Lee and Krimsky, 2016).

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