Friday, 20 May 2011

Tossing a Fruit Salad

My first thought when I saw the headline "China farmers face exploding watermelon problem" on BBC News was... WHAT!?! Their fruit is exploding?.... How can this be!?.... so I did what I always do, investigated. Here is what I found:
 Recently in Eastern China local farmers have been facing a new problem, their watermelon are literally spontaneously exploding! An investigation by state media found that farms in Jiangsu province have lost acres of fruit because of this problem. What's causing it? Apparently the overuse of a new chemical that helps fruit grow faster is the culprit. According to China Central Television, farmers were over spraying their crops with the growth promoter in hopes that they could get their fruit to market ahead of peak season. This of course would increase their profits! China approved the usage of the growth chemical under certain quotas and tests show that, so far, the chemical is safe. We are all aware however that the public is increasingly concerned about food safety. Experts say that a quality tracking system should be introduced that would detail every stage along the food chain. This would allow the public to be fully aware of where there food is coming from and ensure food safety.

This makes me think a lot about where our food is coming from and allows me to see the importance of buying locally as much as possible. Not only does buying our fruit and veggies at places such as farmers markets allow us to support agriculture in our own communities but it also provides more of a safeguard on what we are eating. It also is a small step towards making sure agricultural experts in other places around the world know that we want the highest quality without sacrificing health. When something goes wrong in other places of the world we are affected merely because of the media coverage available and the sheer number of people who tune it. People don't always understand that, in Canada things are slightly different. We don't necessarily use the same chemicals as China does. Therefore farmers everywhere need to be aware of the effects that their methods have on the rest of the world. Not to mention, you can get some really delicious products locally :)!!

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