Wednesday, May 18, 2011

This Could Put Gallagher Out of Business

It was this kind of story that made reading newspapers such fun.

Not for the big headlines, or the Op-Ed, and Sports, pages, but the little gems you would find. 

Filler articles on page A18, and such, with a screaming, or intriguing, headline like "Man's Head Found In Toaster".

So, when I see, on-line, a headline with the words "Exploding Watermelons" that just,.automatically, gets clicked on.

Exploding watermelons put spotlight on Chinese farming practices

Fields of watermelons exploded when he and other agricultural workers in eastern China mistakenly applied forchlorfenuron, a growth accelerator. The incident has become a focus of a Chinese media drive to expose the lax farming practices, shortcuts and excessive use of fertiliser behind a rash of food safety scandals.

It follows discoveries of the heavy metal cadmium in rice, toxic melamine in milk, arsenic in soy sauce, bleach in mushrooms, and the detergent borax in pork, added to make it resemble beef.


The report said the farmers sprayed the fruit too late in the season and during wet conditions, which caused the melons to explode like "landmines". After losing three hectares (eight acres), Liu said he was unable to sleep because he could not shake the image of the fruit bursting. "On 7 May, I came out and counted 80 [burst watermelons] but by the afternoon it was 100," he said. "Two days later I didn't bother to count any more." About 20 farmers and 45 hectares around Danyang were affected. The fruit could not be sold and was instead fed to fish and pigs.

Farmers claim forchlorfenuron can bring the harvest forward by two weeks and increase the size and price of the fruit by more than 20%. Agricultural experts say forchlorfenuron has been widely used in China since the 1980s. Some said it was unsuitable for this fruit, but there was probably little health risk.


This could put Gallagher out of business.

I mean, who would pay to see him explode, instead of using his trusty Sledge-O-Matic, watermelons with chemicals?

But wait, there's more!

It seems to be getting to be a nightmare for Chinese consumers;
In the past week, the People's Daily website has run stories of human birth control chemicals being used on cucumber plants in Xian, China Daily has reported Sichuan peppers releasing red dye in water, and the Sina news portal revealed that barite powder had been injected into chickens in Guizhou to increase their weight.

More alarming still was a study by researchers at Nanjing Agricultural University that estimated a tenth of China's rice may be tainted with the cadmium, a heavy metal that can affect the nervous system. This caused a stir when it was published earlier this year in the pioneering Caixin magazine.

Many wary consumers choose to buy foreign products, which are seen as safer. But this is also vulnerable to mislabelling. The Fruit Industry Association of Guangdong province told reporters this week that "most 'imported' fruit are grown in China".


Imagine that, a company mislabeling their food product ... 

Bonus Riffs

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