If you’re like us, one of the best parts of summer is feasting on fresh watermelon. In the case of these watermelon, though, that’s definitely NOT what you want to be doing this summer.
In particular, we’re referring to watermelon grown in eastern China and elsewhere which were exposed to a growth accelerator known as forchlorfenuron. In China, the growth chemical has actually resulted in watermelons exploding!
You can see more in the video below:
According to the U.S. EPA, “Forchlorfenuron is a cytokin which improves fruit size, fruit set, cluster weight and cold storage in grapes in kiwifruits.”
Chinese regulations don’t forbid the use of the drug, and it’s allowed in the United States on kiwi fruit and grapes, but it’s been reported that many farmers in China are abusing both legal and illegal chemicals, with many farms misusing pesticides and fertilizers.
And it’s hardly as if these chemicals have been found safe. According to an EPA pesticide fact sheet, forchlorfenuron is not necessarily harmless.
- Moderate toxicity to freshwater fish
- Slightly higher toxicity levels in the avian population
- Increased pup mortality and decreased litter sizes in rat studies
If you’re nervous about your watermelons, and you should be, consider this: Watermelons that are grown with hormones will display cracks on the inside. This is a sign that the watermelon grew faster than it was supposed to.
Other produce that has tested for high levels of pesticides:
- Cherry tomatoes
- Snap peas
The produce least likely to contain pesticide residue includes:
- Sweet corn
- Frozen sweet peas
- Sweet potatoes
- fruits and veggies
Another sign as to whether or not produce was grown naturally is flavor, as growth enhancers stimulate cell division, which causes the fruit or vegetable to grow faster, but also dilute flavor.
To reduce your exposure to pesticides and chemicals, buy organic — especially for the foods that contain the highest levels of pesticides. Whether what you purchase is organic or conventional, you should still take steps to reduce contamination by washing your produce thoroughly and peeling it if needed.