An overview of agriculture, nutrition and fortification, supplementation and biofortification: Golden Rice as an example for enhancing micronutrient intake

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Abstract or Summary

The worlds growing population and limited land resources require high intensity of food production. Human nutrition needs both macronutrients and micronutrients. One way of providing micronutrients in staple crops of the poor is biofortification, through plant breeding. All methods of plant breeding are acceptable and safe, and some methods can deliver micronutrients not achievable by other methods. Vitamin A deficiency is responsible for around 4500 preventable child deaths daily, and Golden Rice, biofortified with provitamin A, has proven potential as a costless intervention where rice is the staple crop. The Cartagena Protocol’s concentration on a very narrow concern for environment is changing to embrace concern for sustainable development, food security and climate change. The World Bank is recommending the use of biofortified cereals, including Golden Rice as an example, as the norm rather than the exception in addressing malnutrition, noting that education, social marketing and mass media are important to optimise the effectiveness of any food-based approaches to malnutrition alleviation. Regulatory applications have been made for Golden Rice, transformation event GR2E, relating to the safety of human food and feed, which has been confirmed by one regulatory authority at the time of printing. Attitudes to gmo-crops, after two decades, appear to be changing, which is expected to benefit humankind and the environment.

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