1. Agriculture World

Golden Rice Gets Biosafety Approval For Direct Use as Food & Feed or For Processing

Abha Toppo
Abha Toppo

The Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Plant Industry has granted a biosafety permit for direct utilization of vitamin A-enriched rice variety - Golden Rice as food & feed or for processing (FFP).

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) announced the FFP approval yesterday (18 December 2019), saying that the Golden Rice 'has been found to be as safe as the conventional rice' after thorough biosafety assessment.

Dr. John de Leon, Executive Director of PhilRice welcomed the regulatory decision as the rice variety can be seen as a complementary intervention to deal with the health problems associated with VAD (vitamin A deficiency).

Leon said that “With FFP approval, we bring forward an accessible solution to our country’s Vitamin A deficiency problem that has been affecting many pre-school children & pregnant women”.

It must be noted that Golden Rice is a new variety of rice, which contains beta-carotene (provitamin A) that is converted into vitamin A as required by the body & gives the grain its golden color. It is developed through genetic engineering & produces 2 new enzymes that complete beta-carotene expression in the rice grain.

golden rice

Matthew Morrel, Director General of IRRI said that the beta-carotene content of Golden Rice aims to offer 30 to 50% of the estimated average requirement (EAR) of vitamin A for young children and pregnant women. Morrel said, “IRRI is happy to partner with Philippine Rice Research Institute to develop this nutrition-sensitive agricultural solution to tackle hidden hunger. This is the core of IRRI’s objective - to tailor global solutions to local needs” .

Morrel further said that “The Philippines has long recognized the prospective to harness biotechnology to address food & nutrition security, environmental safety and improve the livelihoods of farmers”.

In order to complete the Philippine biosafety regulatory procedure, Golden Rice will need approval for commercial propagation before it can be made available to consumers.

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