18 May '11, 4am

Exploding melons sow new China food fears

Exploding melons sow new China food fears

BEIJING: A bizarre wave of exploding watermelons -- possibly due to farmers' abuse of a growth-boosting chemical -- has once again spotlighted safety fears plaguing China's poorly regulated food sector. State media has said nearly 50 hectares (120 acres) of watermelon crops in the eastern city of Danyang have been ruined by the phenomenon this month after some growers doused them with the growth accelerator forchlorfenuron. "On May 7, I came out and counted 80 (exploded watermelons), but by the afternoon it was 100," farmer Liu Mingsuo told state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) in a report that aired Tuesday. He said he had sprayed them with the chemical just a day before. "Two days later I didn't bother to count anymore," added Liu, who admitted using forchlorfenuron and saw three hectares of watermelons -- more than two-thirds of his crop -- laid to waste. Th...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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