Human health is not achievable unless adequate amounts of nutritious and safe foods are available and accessible during all life stages. Transgenic modification, traditional and modern, applied to plants and animal food sources hold potential for improving human nutrition and health. Consumers in developed countries have access to a supply of safe and healthy food. In contrast, micronutrient malnutrition is widespread in poor countries, affecting more than half of the population in the developing world. The sustainable solution to malnutrition in developing countries is provision of a sufficient quantity of high quality diet. This can only be achieved through the growth and distribution of genetically modified food.
People in many Third World countries rely on a single crop such as rice for the main staple of their diet. However, rice does not contain adequate amounts of all necessary nutrients to prevent malnutrition. If rice could be genetically engineered to contain additional vitamins and minerals, nutrient deficiencies could be alleviated. For example, blindness due to vitamin A deficiency is a common problem in third world countries. Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Institute for Plant Sciences have created a strain of "golden" rice containing an unusually high content of beta-carotene (vitamin A). Since this rice was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, a non-profit organization, the Institute hopes to offer the golden rice seed free to any third world country that requests it. Plans were underway to develop a golden rice that also has increased iron content. However, the grant that funded the creation of these two rice strains was not renewed, perhaps because of the vigorous anti-GM food protesting in Europe.
It is not only health conditions in Third World countries that can be improved by the use of GMOs. Anemia, for example, affects 56 percent of pregnant women worldwide. Anemic women face higher infant mortality rates,...
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