Genetically Modified Corn for Ethanol Fuel Could Raise Consumer Prices

Genetically modified corn for ethanol could pollute food supplyIf you're looking for a booming market, look at the grain used in so many of our foods: corn. The price for corn has skyrocketed to more than $7 a bushel (which, by the way, is close to its all-time high), and the worldwide buffer supply of the stuff has shrunk to less than 750 million bushels.

Now agricultural giant Syngenta wants to market a new, genetically-modified corn that will be much easier to make into ethanol. The new corn should help lower the cost to produce ethanol, and could persuade more farmers to opt to grow ethanol corn over food corn. That type of competition could result in higher market costs for foods made with corn.The National Pork Producers Council is one group concerned that we could already face a corn shortage if the 2011 crop is not up to expectations. Increased world demand and foreign crop shortfalls have already impacted the supply.

The genetically-modified corn, called Enogen, was approved for use by the Department of Agriculture over the protests of businesses who were convinced that cross-pollination will result. If the properties of this corn show up in food corn, the North American Millers' Association is concerned that it could "damage the quality of food products like breakfast cereals, snack foods and battered products."

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