Golden Rice: Evaluating 'Nutritionism' and GM Food as Health Interventions in the Developing World.
Lumish, Heidi S.
- Recent studies have looked at the potential for using genetic engineering as a means of introducing nutrients into staple foods, to address food insecurity in the developing world. Through the use of genetic engineering, an existing food can be altered to enhance its nutrient content or to introduce a nutrient that is not found in wild-type varieties of the organism. Golden rice is one such exampl... read moree of a genetically altered crop. The rice has been genetically engineered to contain Î²-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. The theory behind golden rice was that it could replace traditional white rice in vitamin A deficient areas where rice is a staple crop. In this paper, I will explore the history behind golden rice and the ensuing debate about its efficacy and rationale. I will analyze golden rice through the lens of the 'magic bullet' philosophy to evaluate the limitations of such an approach. I will argue that there is no ideal, all-encompassing remedy for food insecurity in the developing world. Rather, the food insecurity that plagues developing nations demands an integrated approach, one that can start but not end with genetically enhanced crops and a search for these proclaimed 'magic bullets.' Ultimately, the problems of food insecurity and poor health will persist unless the underlying issues of poverty and diet are addressed.read less