The campaign for genetically modified rice is at the crossroads

The idea for the Golden Rice project arose during an international conference in the Philippines in 1984. (Enserink 2008.) In 1999, an initial success was presented to the
public. A team which included Ingo Potrykus from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich had succeeded in inducing genetically modified rice to generate carotenoids. (Ye et al. 2000.) The human body can use this provitamin A to synthesise essential vitamin A. Since grains of rice took on a yellow colour from the provitamin, this variety was quickly named Golden Rice. A cover story in Time Magazine in 2000 raised
high expectations: "This rice could save a million kids a year." (Time Magazine 2000.) The article meant that this strain could theoretically be used to combat the vitamin A deficiency (VAD) that poses a problem in many developing countries. Children in
particular suffer serious health disorders if they don't receive enough food with carotenoids. Vitamin A deficiency can be life-threatening. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that some 250,000 to 500,000 children go blind every year, and that
half of them die within 12 months. (Enserink 2008.)