June 26, 2013 | By Anna Hunt
Christina Sarich, Staff Writer
If you know a little about the Rockefeller family’s history, what at first seems like a story of a benevolent clan of wealthy individuals, intent on financially supporting cultural and agricultural development for the world, along with sundry other social endeavors, gives way to a more sordid tale.
In the 1990s, the Rockefeller Foundation approached one Swiss Doctor, Ingo Potrykus of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, who specialized in plant engineering, specifically of GMO rice. It was in his lab that some of the first genetically modified rice was produced. This scientist and his team infused rice with daffodil genes in order to increase its beta-carotene. At first glance, this seems like a benevolent enterprise. This bio-fortified rice was meant to feed starving nations and be a solution to the ‘world food crisis.’ Also, since the daffodil bacterial gene spliced with the rice added Vitamin A, it was thought that it could prevent blindness caused by Vitamin A deficiency. This invention was called ‘Golden Rice.’
This was not the first experiment funded by the Rockefeller foundation, however, as evidenced in a keynote speech given in October of 2007 by Judith Rodin, who stated that research concerning genetically modified rice had been underway for over 65 years. Rodin told the Foundations audience:
“In the sixty-five years since they began, we’ve funded the work of Golden Rice’s engineers, Dr. Peter Beyer, Dr. Ingo Potrykus, and others for more than fifteen of them. I’m delighted to announce, today, that we will be providing funding to the International Rice Research Institute – which we helped establish almost fifty years ago – to shepherd Golden Rice through national, regulatory approval processes in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines. And we hope this is just the beginning.”
This means that GMO foods have been in the making as a national food supply for more than half a century.