Illustration by Tara Jacoby

Amidst the clamor over genetically modified crops, there s an underlying point that s still being missed: Nobody really knows what constitutes a genetically modified crop.

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences attempts to synthesize more than 900 existing research studies on GM crops into a single analysis.

Attempts to determine what is and isn t a GM crop have yet to come up with any clear definition of where to draw the line.

Many of the resulting hybrids like broccoli or bananas have been around for so long that they rarely trip the GM alarm.

It s this blurred distinction that the report s authors cite when making their ultimate recommendation to evaluate GM crops as individual products, not as a technological process.

The truth is that food safety for any crop needs to be monitored at every point in the supply chain—in the field, in the packing plants, and in our kitchens and restaurants.

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