China’s exploding watermelon scandal
May 18, 2011 12:15 pm by Leslie Hook
Housewives across China are fretting that their watermelons are not safe to eat after state media reported melons were being injected with a plant growth stimulant called forchlorfenuron, raising fears of yet another food safety scandal.
“I don’t know what I can eat after this watermelon explosion event,” said one user on Sina’s microblog platform, which is China’s biggest online comment forum.
Watermelons are ubiquitous in the Beijing summer, when most households keep a chilled melon in the fridge to alleviate the summer heat. But this year the innocuous fruit has given rise to its very own food safety scandal.
In the city of Danyang, near Nanjing, watermelons planted across 115 acres of land split open after a heavy rainfall, state media reported. According to Wang Liangju, a professor at Nanjing Agricultural University who inspected the damaged crops last week, the melons burst open because a plant growth stimulant, forchlorfenuron, was applied too early in the growing cycle.