A genetically modified variety of rice grown in the Philippines as a means to improve malnutrition will soon be submitted to authorities for biosafety evaluations, according to BBC.
The rice, known as “Golden Rice” and which is engineered to produce beta-carotene — a plant pigment that the body converts into vitamin A — will help nourish the 1.7 million Filipino children who suffer from a vitamin A deficiency, a condition which reduces immunity and can cause blindness.
After more than two decades of boosting beta-carotene levels in the rice, scientists are just weeks away from submitting the product to the Philippines’ food safety regulators.
Two-thirds of Filipino households don’t eat enough to meet their daily dietary requirements, and most of the calories they do consume come from rice; the average Filipino eats 100 kilograms (dry weight) of rice per year.
Although some say the GM rice is a dangerous way to address malnutrition as well as threatens the country’s staple food, scientists estimate that just one cup of the rice could supply up to 50 percent of an adult's recommended daily intake.