The Watermelon You Should Never, Ever Eat
The Chinese farmers used growth chemicals to make their crops larger, but the result was destroyed crops. The watermelon fields in eastern China are full with wrecked crops.
The accelerator that has been used is called forchlorfenuron. The watermelons that survived had fuzzy and misshapen fruit with white instead of black seeds.
“Chinese statutes don’t disallow use of the substance. It is also permitted in the United States for use on kiwi fruit and grapes … About 20 farmers and 115 acres of watermelon around Danyang were engaged … Farmers resorted to chopping up the fruit and feeding it to fish and pigs”.
It looks like the usage of a chemical growth accelerator forchlorfenuron is to blame for the all around the world “exploding melon” phenomenon.
What is Forchlorfenuron?
It is also called “plant growth regulator”, which the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered back in 2004 for use on grapes, raisins and kiwis. The EPA Pesticide Fact sheet claims that this chemical can be used for the flowers or expansion fruit while early post-bloom in order to better the fruit size, fruit set, cluster weight and cold storage. The fact sheet also explains that this chemical is acting synergistically with natural auxins to assist plant cell partition and sidelong growth.”
The MSNBC explains that the Chinese farmers used the forchlorfenuron improperly on the fruit, while the weather was too wet and very late in the season. This is why the melons exploded.
The melons have been exploding by the acre.
According to another article published on May 24 by The Epoch Times, the seeds that were used were imported from Japan and were considered as quality watermelon seeds. In the affected Chinese province, 10 of 20 farmers used these Japanese imported seeds. Yet it was unclear if all of the farmers whose melons blew up had also used forchlorfenuron.
Yet the exploded watermelons are not the only aspect of this story, but the question of the customer’s safety. There weren’t any particular health hazards mentioned in the articles that covered the story, but they do imply that there could be cause for health worries.
Are Growth Promoting Chemicals Safe for Eating?
“The report quoted Feng Shuangqing, a professor at the China Agricultural University, as stating the issue proved that China needs to straighten up its farm chemical standards and control to defend consumer health. The report underscores how farmers in China are trespassing both legal and illegal chemicals, with many farms manipulating pesticides and fertilizers.”
As a matter of fact the forchlorfenuron is legal in China and in the US. EPA pesticide fact sheet claims that forchlorfenuron is not inevitably harmless, not even to the animals nor to the environment and eventually to humans. There were side effects discovered in the studies like:
- Bolstered incidence of alopecia (hair loss)
- Reduced birth weight
- Boosted pup mortality
- Reduced litter sizes
It was also stated that it is “moderately toxic to freshwater fishes on an acute basis”.
How to Spot Fruit Grown with Growth Accelerating Chemicals
The inherent sufficiency of flavor is one of the signs that the fruit or vegetable isn’t grown in naturally way. It can look ripe and well-rounded, but when you will taste it you will know at the same moment that it is grown with the help of the enhancers. Forchlorfenuron and the other enhancers are boosting cell parting, which results with the fruit’s faster growth, but it also drains the fruits taste. The flavor is a sign of ripeness that comes only with time. That’s why many unripe fruits or vegetables are in fact tasteless.
In the watermelon’s case, the treated fruits with forchlorfenuron are larger and barely colored from the outside, and the inside color is more white than red. The other signs are the misshapen fruit and the white seeds instead of black seeds.
Hormones in Your Fruits and Veggies? You Bet!
There isn’t much talking for this issue. Now when many people know that CAFO raised meats are full with hormones, not many could imagine that fresh produce can be laced with hormones and additives too. Zheng Fengtian, a professor of agriculture from Renmin University, states that hormones can boost the yields by 20% or even more, and that’s why they are widely used.
There are hormones that you never imagined can make their way into your table, like oxytocin- which is a hormone that is acting like neuromodulator in the brain. It is also known as the love hormone or binding hormone, and is naturally produced in large amounts in the woman’s body during childbirth. It has been synthesized biochemically and you can find it as a prescription for stimulating labor, and in some countries, is also illegally applied into fruits and vegetables.
The Indian health minister Dinesh Trivedi warned about the illegal use of oxytocin in the fruits and vegetables in his country. It seems like the hormone enables ripening and gaining weight sooner than it should be. The products with oxytocin injected are well rounded and fresher.
Trivedi warned that this hormone has been used on:
FoodSafety.com has stated that the drug, which is disallowed for public sale in India, is widely affordable from fertilizer and pesticide vendors. The potential side effects that this hormone can cause are:
- Stomach ache
- Neurotic complications
- Irregular heartbeat
Other Growth Promoters Used on Produce
Other growth stimulating agents used in fruits and vegetables are including:
- Ehylene (ripens mangoes)
- Calcium carbide (used for papayas, guavas and apples)
The ethylene is generally recognized as safe (GRAS), but on the other hand the calcium carbide contains traces of arsenic and phosphorus that are very toxic to humans. Most of the countries are disallowing its use.
What is more interesting is that one of the Chinese farmers whose melons exploded, was using a composite of growth boosters, sweetening agents and a “calcium solution.” We still don’t know if the formula injected on the exploding melons included calcium cabide in combination with forchlorfenuron. The results are bad, whatever the case may be.
Still on the Fence about Going Organic?
If you are still deliberate on the issue of going organic, this information will stimulate you to go in action.
With the consummation of conventionally grown produce you are exposing your family to a different pesticides, chemical growth enhancers and hormones. All of them are very dangerous for your health, particularly on your children’s. Keep in mind that the conventional produce from your local store is coming from all over the world.
Organic foods are including higher levels of nutrients. A four-year long study that took place in European Union found that:
- There is up to 40% more antioxidants in the organic fruits and vegetables.
- There are higher levels of beneficial minerals such as iron and zinc in the organic produce.
- There are 90% more antioxidants contained in the milk from organic herds.
If you are worshiper on strong and nice flavor, the organic food is the solution for you. You should try to find locally-grown organics. If you are not able to find locally-grown organics, opt for USDA certified organic, but not imported organic, over the conventionally grown produce. Keep in mind that wilted organic produce will not give you the nutrition that the fresh one will. The freshness is also the key.
Pay Now or Pay Later…
When you are living organic way of life you are spending more money on organic food, but it will pay off in time because you will reduce the health care costs in the future. It is logical to invest a little bit now, in order to avoid paying expensive medical bills later on, but what is more important is that you will avoid physical and mental disability and dysfunction that unavoidably will come if you live careless and unhealthy life.
Making sure you are not being deceived by inscriptions in your search for a healthier way of life is a part of this process. Yet with learning about what to search for, consulting with your grocer and sharing the information with your friends, neighbors and family, you are able to assist in the movement toward healthier food choices and habits.