The controversial Golden Rice, which is still being pushed in the Philippines, got a positive evaluation from the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), concurring the variety’s safety and nutrition.
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) said the provitamin-A biofortified rice variety has completed its food safety evaluation from the USFDA, its third international nod after approvals from the Food Standards Australia New Zealand and Health Canada earlier this year.
“Each regulatory application that Golden Rice completes with national regulatory agencies takes us one step closer to bringing it to the people who need it the most,” IRRI director general Matthew Morell said.
“The rigorous safety standards observed by the US FDA and other agencies provide a model for decision-making in all countries wishing to reap the benefits of Golden Rice,” he added.
The Philippines, through the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) continue to develop high-yielding inbred local rice varieties with the beta-carotene producing GR2E Golden Rice trait.
Currently, Golden Rice is undergoing review for field trial and food, feed, and/or processing applications in the country.
“Our research is fully compliant with the country’s stringent regulatory procedures, and we are very optimistic that our application will be approved. Regulatory approval is a necessary step in the research process, as it enables us to continue research to ensure Golden Rice is safe and efficacious,” PhilRice Healthier Rice Project leader Reynante Ordonio said.
“Once Golden Rice is approved for release, a sustainable delivery program will ensure that it is acceptable and accessible to those most in need,” he added.
Golden Rice aims to address vitamin A deficiency which remains a persistent public health issue in the Philippines.
“While current interventions such as proper feeding practices and supplementation have had real successes in improving the nutritional status of our population, millions continue to suffer from these preventable micronutrient deficiencies. Food-based approaches like Golden Rice can help improve nutrition for those who have limited access to diverse diets,” Ordonio said.
Golden Rice is intended as a complementary, food-based solution to existing nutritional interventions, such as diet diversification and oral supplementation.
It achieves this by providing 30 to 50 percent of the estimated average requirement for Vitamin A of women and children.
Written by Louise Maureen Simeon in The Philippine Star. See original article link here.