China's exploding watermelon problem

From The Guardian:
Watermeloexp The flying pips, shattered shells and fleshy shrapnel still haunt farmer Liu Mingsuo after an effort to chemically boost his fruit crop went spectacularly wrong. Field after field of watermelons exploded when he and other agricultural workers in eastern China mistakenly applied forchlorfenuron, a growth accelerator.
"Exploding watermelons put spotlight on Chinese farming practices" (Thanks, Jim Leftwich!)


  1. Yeah, right… “mistakenly” applied a growth accelerator.
    At least it wasn’t Melamine in the baby formula this time.

    Made in China, Yay!

    1. I once tried to grow Chinese Long Squash, and I used fertilizer, which turned out to be a mistake. This was in New Jersey, with reasonably good soil and summer rains, and I was out of town for a few weeks and came back to find a third of my lawn covered with squash vines, baseball-bat-sized squash on the porch roof and 15 feet up in the pine trees, making it dangerous to walk underneath. They weren’t very edible, just as zucchini aren’t if you let them grow too big, but they were pretty scary.

  2. Watermelons aren’t quite pumpkins, but sounds like they’re being weaponized. From the pilot episode of the megacorp workplace satire “Better Off Ted”:

    Veronica: We want to weaponize a pumpkin.
    Ted: Then so do I. Because?
    Veronica: There’s a country with whom we do business that grows a great deal of pumpkins and would welcome additional uses for them. As well as cheaper ways to kill their enemies.
    Ted: Well, finally the pumpkin gets to do something besides Halloween.
    Veronica: Pie.
    Ted: Halloween and pie.

  3. I’ll bet this was part of that massive amount of “certified organic” produce we import from China.

  4. Would it rain too much on your “china bad” -parade to point out that even farmers who hadn’t used the chemicals had their watermelons explode?


        “According to the Xinhua news agency, 20 farmers in a village in Jiangsu province planted imported seeds from Japan, with 10 households saying their watermelons began exploding last month.

        Farmer Liu Mingsuo told Xinhua that more than two-thirds of his crop had blown up.

        He said he had used chemicals to boost their growth on 6 May, and the following day more than 180 melons exploded. Mr Liu was reported to be the only farmer from the 10 households who used chemicals.”

  5. if you drill a hole in one of those watermelons and put it in the oven to warm it up, you are guaranteed to enlarge your penis. it’s true, my spam told me so.

  6. The most galling comment. Farmers grow the food they are going to eat separate from the chemically contaminated crops they are going to sell ie. they won’t poison their own families but they are more than happy to poison yours as long as there is a buck in it.

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