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 is going through all safety evaluations that are 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 only be made available broadly to farmers and consumers if it is successfully developed into rice varieties suitable for Asia, approved by national regulatory agencies, and shown to improve vitamin A status in community conditions. If Golden Rice is found to be safe and efficacious, a sustainable delivery program will ensure that Golden Rice is acceptable and accessible to those most in need.
- β-Carotene Is an Important Vitamin A Source for Humans. J. Nutr. December 1, 2010 vol. 140 no. 12 2268S-2285S
- Paine JA et al. 2005. Improving the nutritional value of Golden Rice through increased pro-vitamin A content. Nature Biotechnology 23:482–487.
- 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.