Hybrid foods aren't safe to eat.
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Several on social media, including one user with almost a million followers, are claiming that we should not consume hybrid foods.
Misbar discovered hybrid foods are from plants that have been cross-bred to produce a different plant than the original plants. These newly created plants can be the product of Mother Nature or a plant scientist. Hybrid is a very broad term and it seems some on social media may be confusing terms.
For example, hybrid plants should not be confused with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which are genetically altered in a lab. According to the Farmer’s Almanac: “Unlike GMOs, hybrid fruits and vegetables are created by the mating of two varieties or cultivars within a single species, or between different species within the same genus. Although many hybrids you see are cross-pollinated artificially, this phenomenon happens quite frequently in nature. This is essentially how new species of plants arise over time. Thank the pollen and bees, and the wind and seeds.”
Hybrid plants should also not be confused with transgenic plants. These are also two different things. Transgenic plants would have received genes from another species through genetic technology versus a hybrid plants which are the product of mating between two different but closely related plant species.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics are in agreement that hybrids often use traditional pollination that can ordinarily occur in nature. With controlled pollination, breeders can develop plants with increasingly desirable characteristics (think more disease resistant bananas for example). According to the Academy, when it comes to some hybrid fruits, consumers benefit from unique, uniform fruit sizes and shapes, increased juiciness, improved taste and better nutrition. Researchers have demonstrated that a considerable amount of nutrients are present in hybrid plants as compared to the original parent plants.
Hybrid crops are also being used on occasion to decrease the use of herbicides and pesticides. For example, on an organic farm in Iowa, a large crop farmer is counting on a hybrid rye to naturally outcompete giant ragweed since the farm does not use synthetic herbicides.