Want another good reason to shop Local and Organic when buying food for yourself and your family? Here it is: Exploding watermelons from China. Sounds like fun doesn't it?
Well, it ain't no Gallager joke. It's for real.
Several news agencies, including the Guardian, have reported that farmers in China "accidentally" sprayed the chemical forchlorfenuron, a growth accelerator, onto their crops of watermelons which caused the melons to grow so fast they became little fruit bombs.
The Guardian article goes on to relate this latest Chinese "boo-boo" and also reminds us of other reported Chinese "mistakes" such as the Oops!-we-put-heavy-metal-cadmium-in-the-rice flub, the now famous, we-got-toxic-melamine-in-your-milk blooper, ye olde arsenic-in-soy-sauce caper, the bleach-in-the-mushrooms faux pas and the detergent-borax-in-pork-added-to-make-it-resemble-beef snafu. Ya gotta hand it to them, the Chinese can really get creative with their toxic waste and food combos. Thanks again, China.
The article goes on to say there is "a study by researchers at Nanjing Agricultural University that estimated a tenth of China's rice may be tainted with the cadmium, a heavy metal that can affect the nervous system. " Yikes! That's a lot of bad rice!
Yet another article, this time on Vietnamese based VUFO-NGO Resource Centre website, states "Chinese-Imported Watermelon Seed Contain Carcinogenic." The short aricle says that up to 70 tons of watermelon seeds imported from China to Vietnam’s central province of Binh Thuan, were found to contain a carcinogenic agent according to the Saigon Giai Phong newspaper (reported Dec. 21, 2010). Makes me wonder what kind of seeds they may be sending our way?
And then there is Japan. Remember that little nuclear disaster?
The US and China (!?) have recently banned the import of seafood from Japan due to fears of radiation contamination. Seems the radiation is spreading...
And life is getting scarier and scarier.
What's the answer? Stop eating watermelon? Stop eating produce and milk and rice and seafood and mushrooms, etc, etc, etc.? Or just stop eating period?
Try this for a safer, greener, healthier alternative to our current food dilemma: Buy local. Seek out a farmer's market and shop there. At the regular grocery store buy organic as much as possible. Tell your grocer you don't want your food imported from China or other countries with "unsafe" farming practices. Use your consumer power for good.
Try your hand at growing your own food--even if it something simple (and easy) like herbs in a flowerpot on your windowsill or sprouts in a recycled jar.
Also, support and stay in touch with your government agencies such as the USDA and the FDA. Tell them what you think about food safety and imported foods. Call and/or email your State and Federal elected representatives to let them know what you think. In case you are not sure who your reps are click here.
And lastly, try to relax.