18 May '11, 1pm

Another danger of non-organic farming: Exploding watermelons

People opt for organically-farmed food for all different reasons, but here's one of the more compelling ones we've seen: Agricultural chemicals can make watermelons explode . Chinese watermelon crops just had an unfortunate run-in with the growth accelerator forchlorfenuron, which makes plants' cells divide faster to pump up growth rates. Supposedly forchlorfenuron can bump up harvest schedules by two weeks and increase fruit size by 20 percent. But if farmers spray too late or in the wrong conditions, acres of melons explode like "landmines" in a scene of carnage that one farmer said haunted his dreams. This is, of course, not the first food safety issue China has faced recently, although it may be the only one to be prefigured by a racist 80s comedian . China has also been flooded with food contaminated by melamine, cadmium, bleach, borax, dye, and birth control chemical...

Full article: http://www.grist.org/list/2011-05-17-another-danger-of-no...

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