Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Energy News  

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Exploding melons sow new China food fears

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) May 18, 2011
A bizarre wave of exploding watermelons -- possibly due to farmers' abuse of a growth-boosting chemical -- has once again spotlighted safety fears plaguing China's poorly regulated food sector.

State media has said nearly 50 hectares (120 acres) of watermelon crops in the eastern city of Danyang have been ruined by the phenomenon this month after some growers doused them with the growth accelerator forchlorfenuron.

"On May 7, I came out and counted 80 (exploded watermelons), but by the afternoon it was 100," farmer Liu Mingsuo told state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) in a report that aired Tuesday.

He said he had sprayed them with the chemical just a day before.

"Two days later I didn't bother to count anymore," added Liu, who admitted using forchlorfenuron and saw three hectares of watermelons -- more than two-thirds of his crop -- laid to waste.

The use of forchlorfenuron is legal in China. In the United States, the chemical is registered for use on grapes and kiwi fruit.

However, CCTV and other media reports also quoted experts saying a wave of sudden heavy rainfall following a dry spell in the area may also have been a contributing factor and that farmers who denied using the chemical also had suffered problems.

Reports of bursting watermelons are not uncommon, especially involving thinner-skinned varieties.

But the exploding melons in Jiangsu province are likely to be viewed by skittish consumers as yet another sign of an agricultural sector addicted to chemicals -- and the continuing failure of authorities to address the problem.

China promised decisive action after a huge 2008 milk scandal that saw at least six infants die and 300,000 sickened by dairy products tainted with the industrial chemical melamine.

Melamine was added to give the appearance of higher protein content.

But a string of new reports has emerged in recent weeks involving tainted pork, toxic milk, dyed buns and other dodgy foods that have in many cases sickened consumers.

Last month, Premier Wen Jiabao warned the misdeeds of farmers and other food producers revealed "a grave situation of dishonesty and moral degradation."

Forchlorfenuron-laced fruits remain safe to eat, the official Xinhua news agency said, but quoted consumers saying the episode had once again stoked food fears.

"I am worried that some of the good-looking fruits still have chemical residue and are not safe to eat," said Zhou Haiying, a resident of Nanjing city, near Danyang.

Another person was quoted saying suspiciously large fruits are common in Chinese markets, "such as strawberries as big as ping-pong balls and grapes as big as eggs".

With food safety regularly ranked as a top public concern, China passed a 2009 Food Safety Law amid much fanfare.

But authorities have once again pledged a new crackdown on the use of chemical additives after recent scandals including bean sprouts laced with cancer-causing nitrates, steamed buns with banned preservatives, and rice laced with heavy metals.

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Livestock genes could protect against one of Africa's oldest animal plagues
Nairobi, Kenya (SPX) May 18, 2011
An international research team using a new combination of approaches has found two genes that may prove of vital importance to the lives and livelihoods of millions of farmers in a tsetse fly-plagued swathe of Africa the size of the United States. The team's results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The research, aimed at finding the biological k ... read more

ESA's water mission keeps tabs on dry spring soils

Aquarius to Illuminate Links Between Salt and Climate

Mississippi Flooding Captured by NASA Satellites

India's new satellite beams high quality images

Europe's first EGNOS airport to guide down giant Beluga aircraft

'Green' GPS saves fuel, energy

Apple update fixes iPhone tracking "bugs"

Russia, Sweden to boost space cooperation

Will global climate change enhance boreal forest growth

Reforesting rural lands in China pays big dividends

Rainforest ants use chemicals to identify which plants to prune

Fierce debate in Brazil over forestry protection

Multi-junction solar cells help turn plants into powerhouses

Eucalyptus tree genome deciphered

Turning plants into power houses

Counteracting Biofuel Toxicity in Microbes

New solar product captures up to 95 percent of light energy

New Barometer published: photovoltaic barometer

Emerson To Provide Power Technology For One Of The Largest Solar Energy Projects In US

Lowe's Selects Sungevity For Residential Solar Partnership

Evolutionary lessons for wind farm efficiency

Global warming won't harm wind energy production, climate models predict

Study: Warming won't lessen wind energy

Mortenson Construction to Build its 100th Wind Project

Eight trapped in flooded China mine: state media

Wyoming to expand coal mining

China mine explosion kills 11, two missing

Wyoming coal leases to be auctioned

Beijing brushes aside new Tibetan leader

One-dog policy takes effect in Shanghai

China's Forbidden City rules out plans for elite club

Detained Chinese artist Ai allowed to see wife

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement