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licensed it back to the inventors for “humanitarian” use, under specific terms, in developing countries. Syngenta retains full commercial rights over Golden Rice, including over improvements of the technology. They also directly own the patent on GR2, a revised Golden Rice made with a maize gene. But the company has declared that it no longer has interest in marketing the rice itself in developed countries. The Chinese state-owned corporation ChemChina bought the vast majority of shares of Syngenta in June 2017 for US$43 billion. ChemChina bought the remaining shares shortly after and Syngenta was de-listed. Syngenta is now a private company owned by one shareholder, ChemChina. ChemChina says it intends to relist a minority stake in the company in the future. In 2018, China’s larger chemical conglomerate SinoChem plans to merge and consolidate with ChemChina. The new entity would surpass Dow-DuPont as the world’s largest chemical company. In sum, ChemChina owns Syngenta which retains the rights to Golden Rice. A transfer of these rights to other interests is not planned at the moment, but this could change in the future. Golden Rice – Outperformed by natural beta-carotene sources For the past two decades, creators and proponents of golden rice have continuously highlighted the project as critical to alleviate widespread VAD, a problem in many developing countries. It is true that Vitamin A deficiency remains one of the common forms of malnutrition in many poor and developed countries, especially in Africa and SouthEast Asia. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), an estimated 250 million preschool children are vitamin-A deficient. Poverty and lack of purchasing power are identified as major 12 causes of malnutrition, including VAD. These underlying issues will never be addressed by Golden Rice. The direct use and commercialisation of Golden Rice is hence quite alarming. In February 2009, news broke that the Golden Rice project had carried out tests at a school in Hunan province, China, involving 68 pupils aged from six to eight. Twenty-three of the children received the genetically- engineered rice with their school food, although it had never been tested in any feeding studies on adverse effects on health. This triggered a public debate; the issue was about whether it was ethically and medically responsible to conduct such tests on humans without previous animal feeding trials. Despite the controversy around direct feeding trials to children, IRRI and PhilRice pushed through and further submitted an application for direct feeding trials to the Philippines’ Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry, in February 2017. Meanwhile, according to a source at BRRI, feeding trials to children are also planned to take place between 2018 and 2019 in Bangladesh, with the help of the Hellen Keller institute, a partner organisation of the Golden Rice Humanitarian Board, once the open field trials are concluded. US FDA concluded that the level of beta-carotene in Golden Rice is too low to warrant a nutrient content claim. This reflects the failure and futility of GM Golden Rice to address malnutrition and Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD). Do we really need Golden Rice to curb VAD? The Philippines has managed to slash its VAD levels among vulnerable sectors with conventional nutrition programmes. According to data by the Philippines National Nutrition Council, there was a significant decrease in VAD cases between 2003 and 2008, where incidence of VAD on children aged 6 months to 5 years-old were dropped from 40.1% in 2003 to 15.2% in 2008. In the case of pregnant women, the incidence dropped from 17.5% to 9.5% and for lactating mothers from 20.1% to 6.4%. In Bangladesh, according to the National Nutrition Survey by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in the mid-1990s, 44% of the entire population had met their Vitamin A requirements through diet. Further, between 1995 and 2005 the prevalence of VAD in Bangladesh has been lowered to 22% among children and 23% among pregnant women. The Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Welfare Service pointed out that supplementation with Vitamin A-rich capsules has been the most cost effective short-term measure to tackle VAD, combined with dietary improvements through dietary diversification and nutrition education. A similar situation can be found in Indonesia, where Vitamin A capsules are given twice a year to children aged 6 to 59 months. The latest VAD census, conducted in 2011, showed that VAD level were already below the level considered as a public nutrition issue, meaning it was no longer a national health issue. Based on IRRI’s documents, Golden Rice contains less than 10% of an equivalent amount of beta-carotene in carrots. As mentioned above, even the US FDA took notice of the Golden Rice’s low beta-carotene content. Citing the IRRI report, the average beta- carotene of Golden Rice is a measly 1.26 μg/g. The already meagre beta-carotene content in GR2E can also degrade over time, as shown by a study in 2017.20 Only 60% of the beta-carotene content is retained in Golden Rice after three weeks in storage, and just 13% after 10 weeks. In Australia, the network Mothers are Demystifying Genetic Class Struggle