China's "Exploding" Watermelons, Explained China's "Exploding" Watermelons, Explained

China's "Exploding" Watermelons, Explained

by Peter Smith

May 21, 2011

The headlines make it sound incredible:

China's red threat: Exploding watermelons
Burst melons put Chinese farming under the spotlight
Melons blow their tops
Danger... unexploded watermelons
Bursting with taste

China's latest scandal may raise our fears about imported melons, but perhaps that's a diversion from our own food safety woes. In 2004, for example, the Environmental Protection Agency (PDF) cleared the plant hormone, the only one on the market, for use in kiwis, seedless grapes, and raisins. It's been used experimentally in California, so, without more attention, there's a chance you could soon be eating the same thing that may have made those melons explode.

Bottom photo via "CPPU application on size and quality of hardy kiwi," ©2006 Elsevier.

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China's "Exploding" Watermelons, Explained