Ensuring safety in Golden Rice research
The Department of Agriculture (DA) made sure that products of modern biotechnology including golden rice all went through rigorous research and assessment to ensure they are safe before they reach the consumers.
In March 2016, the Joint Department Circular No.1 series of 2016 titled Rules and Regulations for the Research and Development, Handling and Use, Transboundary Movement, Release into the Environment, and Management of Genetically-Modified Plant and Plant Products Derived from the Use of Modern Biotechnology was issued.
This regulation governs the safe and responsible use of the products of modern biotechnology, which includes Golden Rice.
The Golden Rice Project is still ongoing with Philippine Rice Research Institute as lead agency and in coordination with International Rice Research Institute.
Five national government agencies, particularly the Departments of Agriculture, Health, Science and Technology, Environment and Natural Resources, and Interior and Local Government are involved in the implementation of the rules and regulations governing Golden Rice research.
Golden Rice is a new type of rice developed to contain beta carotene in its grain, a substance safely converted to vitamin A when needed by the body.
DA said the development of Golden Rice is prompted by the need for an additional intervention to address vitamin A deficiency (VAD).
“Following all the regulatory processes, we remain steadfast in our efforts to develop a golden rice variety that will benefit both our farmers and consumers,” said Roel Suralta, Golden Rice project lead at PhilRice.
To ensure that Golden Rice is safe to people, a study was conducted to determine its nutritional composition.
Results show that the nutrients in Golden Rice are the same with that of the ordinary rice, except for its beta carotene content as desired.
Golden Rice will only be made available to farmers and consumers as a complementary solution to address VAD after passing all required tests and getting all necessary approvals from regulators.