Next GM Product to Hit Market Could Be Your Daily Bread

The stakes in the debate over genetically modified (GM) food are about to jump significantly, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration prepares to complete a safety and nutrition review of wheat that has been genetically altered by biotech giant Monsanto. To date, GM crops have largely been used as animal feed and processed food ingredients, such as corn syrup. Wheat, by contrast, is a diet mainstay for many of the world’s people, and where it goes, the other mainstay — rice — is likely to follow. Advocates say GM varieties of common human foods would have longer shelf lives, reduce farm labor and pesticide use, and stave off hunger. Critics counter that too little is known about the long-term safety of GM crops, and they question the wisdom of putting the fate of the world’s staple foods into the hands of biotech companies.