Chinese farmers are notorious for their abuse of both legal and illegal chemicals. In 2008 it was melamine-tained milk, that caused deaths of 6 babies and thousands became ill. In 2010 the 3.5 tons of beans were destroyed after authorities discovered the use of a banned pesticide. Earlier this year the study was published stating that at least 10% of China’s rice contains dangerous heavy metal cadmium.
In the recent scandal it was the farmers themselves who suffered the consequences, them and thousands of watermelons. Over 100 acres of farmland around Danyang was affected by so called watermelon explosions. The fruit was bursting right before farmers’ very eyes.
The authorities blame the explosions on the misuse of the chemical called forchlorfenuron. The unfortunate agricultural workers, most of them new to growing this fruit, were chasing easy money by spraying their fruit with the growth stimulator not recommended for watermelons.
Cui Jian, director of research at the Academy of Agricultural Science stated that the chemicals with plant hormones will most likely misshapen the fruit and turn the seeds white. “Watermelons are very sensitive,” said Cui Jian. However the overall use of forchlorfenuron on other fruits and vegetables is considered safe and poses no health risks.
Addressing this issue professor at the China Agricultural University Feng Shuanging once again stressed the need to stricken the farm chemicals standards to protect consumers.
In a meantime it’s China’s pigs and fish that are enjoying an abundance of this fresh fruit, since apparently they do not care for color or shape of their food.