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Legal Action by Greenpeace Contributes to Blindness in the Philippines


Following a lawsuit filed by Greenpeace, cultivation of Malusog Golden Rice will be banned.  The GM variety incorporates genes from corn and bacteria that contribute to a high level of available vitamin A in a diet incorporating the GM cultivar.


The strain was developed at the Philippine Rice Research Institute using technology developed over two decades ago in Switzerland to provide adequate vitamin A to consumers with a low standard of nutrition. Vitamin A is required to maintain the integrity of mucous membranes to resist respiratory infections and to prevent blindness, especially in children.


The Court hearing the case was unable to reach a conclusion based on conflicting scientific and evidence presented by the two parties.  The Government intends to appeal the decision that resulted from an apparent misinterpretation of the “precautionary principle”.


Greenpeace alleged that “GM crops have never been proven safe.”  As a matter of record, GM corn, soybeans and beets for sugar have been widely cultivated and consumed without any evidence of any deleterious effect.


Golden Rice has been approved in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States and is now cultivated in Bangladesh.


When established, Greenpeace provided valuable service to ecologists and environmentalists in advocating scientific principles of land and marine resources.  In recent years, the organization has been hijacked by extremists and activists opposed to intensive livestock and crop production.  As with similar organizations opposed to increased productivity, they offer no alternative to beneficial technology.


Golden Rice is promoted by a humanitarian Board that grants patent rights to institutions without  payment of a royalty. There is no commercial benefit to any biotech enterprise from propagating the strain.


Those in Greenpeace should be ashamed of their dubious legal victory. There are thousands of impoverished children picking a livelihood on garbage dumps or working in fields whose vision will be impaired because they are denied access to a nutritious food staple.