Farmers in eastern China used growth chemicals to make their crops bigger, but ended up creating what’s called the “exploding melon” phenomena.

In an attempt of making their watermelons bigger and more profitable, the farmers used forchlorfenuron – a powerful growth accelerator.

MSNBC reports:

“Chinese regulations don’t forbid use of the substance. It is also allowed in the United States for use on kiwi fruit and grapes … About 20 farmers and 115 acres of watermelon around Danyang were affected … Farmers resorted to chopping up the fruit and feeding it to fish and pigs”.

watermelon cracked inside

Credit: newsiosity.com

What is Forchlorfenuron?

 

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Forchlorfenuron is a cytokine which improves fruit size, fruit set, cluster weight and cold storage in grapes and kiwifruits.”

Wang Liangju, a professor at the College of Horticulture at Nanjing Agricultural University, believes that the problem occurred because the drug was used too late in the season as heavy rain activity rises the risk of the fruit to explode. He also believes that the type of melon played a role.

“If it had been used on very young fruit, it wouldn’t be a problem,” Wang reported. He also added, “Another reason is that the melon they were planting is a thin-rind variety and these kind are actually nicknamed the ‘exploding melon’ because they tend to split.”

Chinese regulations allow the use of the drug, which is also legal in the United States for kiwi fruit and grapes. However, it has been reported that many Chinese farmers are abusing both legal and illegal chemicals, with many farms misusing pesticides and fertilizers.

Is Forchlorfenuron Safe?

 

According to the pesticide fact sheet by EPA, forchlorfenuron is not necessarily harmless. The fact sheet reports:

– Moderate toxicity to freshwater fish
– Slightly higher toxicity levels in the avian population
– Increased pop mortality and decreased litter sizes in rat studies

How to Tell If The Fruit Was Grown With The Help of Hormones or Pesticides

 

According to the Environmental Working Group, the tests conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on 3,015 samples showed that almost two-thirds contained pesticide residues. A total of 165 different pesticides were found on thousands of fruit and vegetable samples.

If a watermelon was grown with hormones it will display cracks on the inside, which is a sign that the watermelon grew faster than it was supposed to.

Another sign that a fruit or vegetable wasn’t grown naturally is the lack of flavor. Growth enhancers such as forchlorfenuron stimulate cell division to make the product grow faster, thus draining its flavor.

Another growth hormone known for its use in fruits and vegetables in India is oxytocin. Even though the drug is banned for public sale in India, it is widely available from pesticide and fertilizer vendors.

Ethylene and calcium carbide are also other growth promoting agents used in produce. While ethylene may contain traces of arsenic, calcium carbide is believed to cause a whole range of health problems.

What to do?

 

If you want to reduce your exposure to pesticides and chemicals, always buy organic – especially the foods that contain the highest levels of pesticides. No matter what you purchase, whether organic or conventional, always take steps to reduce contamination by washing your produce thoroughly and peeling it if needed.

Don’t forget to share if you find this article useful, cheers!

Source: DavidWolfe.com

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Farmers in eastern China used growth chemicals to make their crops bigger, but ended up creating what's called the 'exploding melon' phenomena. In an attempt of making their watermelons bigger and more profitable, the farmers used forchlorfenuron - a powerful growth accelerator. MSNBC reports: “Chinese regulations don’t forbid use of the substance....