What food safety assessments have been done for Golden Rice?

Golden Rice is unique because it contains beta carotene, which gives it a golden color and is converted to vitamin A by the body as needed. Golden Rice was developed using genetic modification techniques, with genes from maize and a common soil microorganism that together produce beta carotene in the rice grain.

Golden Rice has gone through all safety evaluations that have been appropriate and required at each stage of our project. We are following international and national guidelines for food safety of genetically modified crops, which require assessment of the nutritional value of Golden Rice and potential toxicity and allergenicity of proteins from the new genes in it.

Food safety-related studies that have been completed to date conclude that:

  • Beta carotene in food is a safe source of vitamin A (1). Beta carotene is found and consumed in many nutritious foods eaten around the world, including fruits and vegetables.
  • The beta carotene in Golden Rice is the same as the beta carotene that is found in other foods (2). 
  • The proteins from the new genes in Golden Rice do not show any toxic or allergenic properties (3).

Golden Rice will be available to farmers and consumers only if it has been determined to be safe for humans, animals, and the environment and authorized for propagation and consumption by the appropriate regulatory authorities.

Sources:

  1. β-Carotene Is an Important Vitamin A Source for Humans. J. Nutr. December 1, 2010 vol. 140 no. 12 2268S-2285S 
  2. Paine JA et al. 2005. Improving the nutritional value of Golden Rice through increased pro-vitamin A content. Nature Biotechnology 23:482–487.
  3. Goodman RE, Wise J. Bioinformatic analysis of proteins in Golden Rice 2 to assess potential allergenic cross-reactivity. Preliminary Report. University of Nebraska. Food Allergy Research and Resource Program. May 2, 2006.