We’ve been pretty harsh critics of products from China on This Green Earth and this is further proof that our criticism is justified. Today we learned that watermelons are exploding in China because they were given high levels of a growth hormone, among other additives. Apparently, the Land Mine Melons were given the growth accelerator forchlorfenuron. This particular growth hormone is deemed “safe” (okay, sure, whatever), but the exploding melons have raised other concerns about Chinese farming practices.
According to this Yahoo article, “[i]n March last year, Chinese authorities found that “yard-long” beans from the southern city of Sanya had been treated with the banned pesticide isocarbophos. The tainted beans turned up in several provinces, and the central city of Wuhan announced it destroyed 3.5 tons of the vegetable”.
There is also widespread overuse of food additives like dyes and sweeteners that retailers hope will make food more attractive and boost sales. Last year, there was an extensive study of arsenic in apple juice that found arsenic in almost all commercial apple juice but found particularly high levels in apple juice coming from China.
The bottom line is that the Chinese are just starting to police their food system, so it’s unclear what is being added to Chinese food. Read your labels, don’t buy Chinese and buy local when you can.
In the meantime, it’s sad that these inexperienced farmers have lost their crops due to this growth hormone. The crops have been ruined at alarming rates and they’re now using the watermelons as fish and pig feed. I sure hope we don’t see exploding fish and pigs out of China next week!