lincolnIn the Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln described the government as “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Unfortunately, like being treated with dignity at the airport, or expecting honest disclosure of the ingredients contained in the foods we eat, this has been reduced from words to live by into a soundbite of the ever growing list of things we should no longer expect to apply.

Unethical human experimentation is something we all hope the United States Government would never participate in. I believe most reasonable people, if asked, would say that no government agency should be running food safety experiments on anyone without their knowledge. So then why does it happen? What’s that you say? You didn’t know it happens? It does.

I read an article earlier that uncovered the United States Department of Agriculture was in cahoots with the Chinese government to test the safety of genetically modified “golden rice” on Chinese children [1]. Yes, you heard that correctly. The safety of lab-grown food has been tested on kids in China, and it was done without the kids’ knowledge or consent.

Upon revelation of this story, the Chinese Government attempted to downplay it, however public opinion was one of outrage. Tufts University developed the rice, a spokesperson said the University was unaware of what had happened and called it inhumane and unethical. A Chinese author involved in the secret GMO rice trials, Shi-an Yin, was suspended from his work.

GMO foods are said by their creators to be safe. If that’s true, what was even being tested for? Why was this experiment done in without the participant’s knowledge? I would think, or hope, any researcher should have, at some point, taken an ethics class and learned about the follies of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment or the Stateville Penitentiary Malaria Study, and those are only two of a disgusting number of disgusting incidences.
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There are times in life when it’s necessary to read between the lines, the scope of this study is one of them.

References (1)
  1. Niiu Shuping, David Stanway. China investigates wether children used in GMO “golden rice” trial. Reuters. 2012 September 11.

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