Rookie growers, trying to cash in on high watermelon prices, apparently were not very familiar with the application of growth hormone to young watermelon crops. They applied too much of the chemical forchlorfenuron to the plants (Link to the EPA fact sheet PDF here) during the wrong part of the season.
Instead of the bounty of beautiful round watermelons they expected, instead they found Watermelageddon: hundreds of the fruits spontaneously exploded, splitting their rinds from too much growth too quickly. And it wasn’t just one farm: Around 20 farmers were affected, resulting in the loss of about 40 hectares of watermelon.
The story is amusing — sort of. While the image of exploding watermelon is kind of funny, there is a disturbing undertone of the abuse of growth chemical and pesticides in the food industry — and China is a particularly pernicious offender. The misuse of the chemical in this case was obvious. But in how many other cases is it invisible, with the products ending up on grocery store shelves all over the world?
Photo credit: Imagelane on Flickr