Friday, February 27, 2015

Golden Rice promotional exposed as GMO industry invention

GM Watch | Feb 25, 2015 | Claire Robinson

Owen Paterson tweets emotive poem about vitamin A deficiency that turns out to have been written by a GMO industry employee based in the UK

GMO Golden Rice has suffered multiple research and development problems and has not been shown to work in reducing vitamin A deficiency in malnourished people. It hasn’t even been shown to be safe to eat in animal studies.

But that didn’t stop the discredited former UK environment secretary and GMO promoter Owen Paterson tweeting an emotive poem written in the first person about a child going blind from vitamin A deficiency because of opposition to Golden Rice.

Paterson tweeted an image of the poem next to a picture of himself giving a speech at Syngenta’s UK research headquarters at Jealott’s Hill. Paterson’s tweet reads, “Congratulations to @SyngentaCropsUK scientists who are developing new technologies to feed the world.”

 What he didn’t disclose was the background of the person who wrote the poem.

If you click on the image on Twitter so it enlarges, you can see the poem’s author: Roobina Baloch (image also below).

At first we assumed this was somebody who had been directly affected by vitamin A deficiency in the Philippines or another country with problems of malnourishment.

But it turns out that Baloch is actually a Senior Technical Expert at Syngenta Crop Protection in the UK.

Syngenta is the GMO and agrochemicals giant that still retains commercial rights over GMO Golden Rice, despite the product’s positioning by GMO proponents as a purely public humanitarian initiative.

Baloch’s previous job was with Dow AgroSciences, also in the UK. She was employed there as far back as 1987, and she was doing a doctorate in Wales between 1981 and 1984.

Judging by her research publications, her expertise is in agrochemicals and plant development. Her work for Syngenta focuses on product safety and consumer risk assessment.

So Baloch is not a person living in a country affected by vitamin A deficiency. She isn’t even an expert in health or nutrition. Baloch might better be described as a career representative of GMO and agrochemical companies who has long been based in the UK.

Now the only remaining question is: Has Owen Paterson had an irony bypass? Does he realize that to publicize an unproven GM crop using a piece of emotional blackmail generated by a representative of a GMO and agrochemicals giant might be seen as – well, just a little bit cynical  and manipulative?

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