Ethan A. Huff
Unless the rice you buy is certified organic, or comes specifically from a farm that tests its rice crops for genetically modified (GM) traits, you could be eating rice tainted with actual human genes. The only known GMO with inbred human traits in cultivation today, a GM rice product made by biotechnology companyVentria Bioscienceis currently being grown on 3,200 acres in Junction City, Kansas — and possibly elsewhere — and most people have no idea about it.
Since about 2006,Ventriahas been quietly cultivating rice that has been genetically modified (GM) with genes from the human liver for the purpose of taking the artificial proteins produced by this “Frankenrice” and using them in pharmaceuticals. With approval from the U.S.Department of Agriculture(USDA),Ventriahas taken one of the most widely cultivated grain crops in the world today, and essentially turned it into a catalyst for producing new drugs.
Originally, the cultivation of this GM rice, which comes in three approved varieties (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/brs/biotech_ea_permits.html), was limited to the laboratory setting. But in 2007,Ventriadecided to bring the rice outdoors. The company initially tried to plant the crops in Missouri, but met resistance fromAnheuser-Buschand others, which threatened to boycott all rice from the state in the event thatVentriabegan planting its rice within state borders (http://todayyesterdayandtomorrow.wordpress.com).
SoVentria‘s GM rice eventually ended up in Kansas, where it is presumably still being grown for the purpose of manufacturing drugs on 3,200 acres in Junction City. And while this GM rice with added human traits has never been approved for human consumption, it is now being cultivated in open fields where the potential for unrestrained contamination and spread of its unwanted, dangerous GM traits is virtually a given.
“This is not a product that everyone would want to consume,” said Jane Rissler from theUnion of Concerned Scientists(UCS) to theWashington Postback in 2007. “It is unwise to produce drugs in plants outdoors.”
Though receiving tens of thousands of public comments of opposition, many rightly concerned about the spread of GM traits, the USDA approved open cultivation ofVentria‘s GM rice anyway. This, of course, occurred after the U.S.Food and Drug Administration(FDA) had refused approval forVentria‘s GM rice back in 2003 (http://www.kansasruralcenter.org/publications/PharmaRice.pdf).
GM ‘pharmaceutical’ rice could cause more disease, suggests report
Besides the threat of contamination and wild spread,Ventria‘s GM rice, which is purportedly being grown to help third-world children overcome chronic diarrhea, may conversely cause other chronic diseases.
“These genetically engineered drugs could exacerbate certain infections, or cause dangerous allergic or immune system reactions,” said Bill Freese, Science Policy Analyst at theCenter for Food Safety(CFS), who published a report back in 2007 about the dangers ofVentria‘s GM rice.
You can view that report here:
Sources for this article include: