Yep, now might be the time to question the chemicals being used in our food.
No, nobody actually gets hurt around these things…as far as we know. But the effects on farmers is pretty serious: about 20 farms in Jiangsu province have lost up to 45 hectares of watermelon due to a growth accelerator known as forchlorenuron. One farmer reported over 180 exploded watermelons in one day, meaning a huge loss in crops. Even the ones that didn’t explode showed signs of forchlorfenuron usage, like misshapen melons and white seeds.
Image: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com/Flickr
While the growth accelerator isn’t illegal and is used on many fruit shipments to North America, the exploding fruit is a telltale sign that farmers are misusing pesticides and fertilizers. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the accelerator is dangerous, however; other factors contributing to the fruit’s exploding factor include heavy rain and the variety of melon. The chemical has actually been around for a long time, and without this kind of side-effect.
The whole mess started happening not long after China’s “kiwi scandal” in January, when farmers were accused of using harmful growth accelerators causing nervous system damage to double the size of kiwis. Unfortunately, China doesn’t have many regulations in place for the use of such chemicals.
Our solution? Everyone start setting up their own homesteads without the use of chemicals and be really careful when eating non-organic fresh fruits and veggies in countries with lax food regulations.