GE rice paper
retracted from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition – Greenpeace
August 11, 2015
BEIJING – Greenpeace East
Asia welcomes the recent retraction of the American Journal of
Clinical Nutrition, on the genetically engineered (GE) ‘Golden’ Rice
paper by Guangwen Tang, as an important step in upholding ethical
standards in research.
The Chinese government,
together with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Chinese Centre for
Disease Control and Prevention, declared the GE ‘Golden’ Rice research
in Hengyang, Hunan Province to be illegal. The first author, Dr.
Guangwen Tang and his co-researchers were found to have breached
ethical standards and were penalized for their actions.
Jing Wang Greenpeace East
Asia, Food and Agriculture Senior Campaigner said: “The students and
their parents who were involved in the study were not provided with
sufficient information before the feeding trials were conducted, of
particular concern given that the food safety of GE crops is still a
controversial question in the scientific and academic world.
“Over the years, the Chinese
public has had growing concerns on the safety of GE crops,
particularly on ‘Golden’ Rice, which prompted the government to
caution on GE research in China, especially when children are
“In 2008, when Greenpeace
East Asia first learned of the research, we immediately sent a letter
to the Ministry of Agriculture to inform them of the study. The
Ministry then replied saying that they met with the related
institutions and had pulled the plug on their research. Although the
study was strictly banned by the government, the feeding trials
persisted and were unknown to the general public.
“Twenty years after it was
first conceptualized, GE ‘Golden’ Rice continues to be a failed
experiment, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars poured into
“Instead of investing in a
failing experiment, governments and philanthropic organizations should
redirect their investment towards long term solutions that will
address not just Vitamin A deficiency, but also food and nutrition
security, especially for countries like China which are starting to
reel from the impacts of climate change.
“They should channel
investments to Ecological Agriculture, a type of farming that grows
food in harmony with nature by working with diversity that exists on
the farm. Diversity builds farm resilience and provides diverse food
sources for diverse diets. These are, in turn, a vital part of the
long-term solution to food and nutrition security including
malnutrition, of which Vitamin A deficiency is just one of the many.”