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Chinese Watermelons Exploding From Too Much Growth Hormone

Chinese Watermelons Exploding From Too Much Growth Hormone

Chinese growers saw the market for watermelon was booming, so they decided to do the same thing with the watermelons themselves. 

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?

Related Stories:

Food from China? Whole Foods vs. Trader Joe’s

Fake Eggs and Contaminated Rice: Let the Consumer in China Beware

Is China Manufacturing Plastic Rice?


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Photo credit: Imagelane on Flickr

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3:13PM PST on Mar 5, 2013

No thanks to Chinese food...

5:54PM PST on Mar 2, 2013

Takes the song 'strawberry fields' to a whole new level, doesn't it.

8:20PM PST on Mar 1, 2013

Just read the story on concrete-filled walnuts in China when this one caught my eye. One wonders what new incredulous thing China will do next.

1:34PM PST on Mar 1, 2013


1:12PM PST on Mar 1, 2013


8:40PM PST on Feb 28, 2013

Well, if FDA doesn't get seriously about protecting costumers and and doesn't stand up against those who don't care about our safety (some politicians in Washington), will face more and more uncertainty when buying food.

6:17AM PST on Nov 24, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

5:41AM PDT on Jul 19, 2012

hope nobody got hurt

2:01AM PDT on Aug 1, 2011

This is a very sad story. Other animals and plants have to go only because "we" humans do not want to share the world with other life forms, these life forms "we" would not eat (vegetarian food is not a bad idea, or eating with conscience as the so called primitive cultures did and still do, if they still exist. No meat/fish every day). And what we eat we make a manipulation. "We" destroy everything around us and "we" forget, that everything is important to survive, too.

As little child i thought that rain is when God and the angels cry - because "we" humans have forgotten that we need this "intelligence", someone who could help... if "we" hadn't turned away for many centuries ago...

"Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten." (Native American proverb)

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

2:35AM PDT on May 30, 2011

Eat local you say :) what would you say to a Chinese villager? ;-) Especially if all of them eat their own production...

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