A social media post claims that the presence of cracks within a watermelon indicates the presence of a growth-boosting chemical called Forchlorfenuron, which can cause various health issues. We fact checked and found this claim to be False.
An article on the website seobegi.com reads, “Ever sliced open a watermelon and spotted those large, unusual cracks within?
Those cracks might indicate the presence of a growth-boosting chemical called Forchlorfenuron. This substance speeds up fruit growth when sprayed onto them. While it might sound like a harmless way to get bigger fruits faster, there’s a dark side. If ingested, Forchlorfenuron can lead to severe health issues like cancer and neurological complications. These conditions are challenging to treat.”
Do watermelon cracks represent the presence of pesticides?
No. There is no scientific evidence to prove that the cracks present inside the watermelon are due to the presence of Forchlorfenuron. Rather, it is a natural condition or defect which does not cause cracks on the outside of the fruit, only voids on the inside.
Watermelons offer numerous health benefits. It is a rich source of vitamins A and C, as well as lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. Therefore, are advised to be added as a part of the diet.
The cracks and hollow spaces that develop inside the watermelon due to the separation of internal tissues is called hollow heart.
Additionally, the pesticide mentioned in the claim, Forchlorfenuron is a plant growth regulator registered for use on grapes raisins, and kiwifruit as per the EPA Pesticide Fact Sheet. It does not mention watermelons on the list.
Purdue University, College of Agriculture explains that inadequate pollination stands as the chief factor contributing to the development of hollow heart. Researchers have substantiated that seedless watermelons are prone to hollow heart when the pollenizer plants (diploid watermelons) are situated at greater distances from the seedless plants. The investigation revealed that the occurrence of hollow heart begins to rise when the separation between the seedless and pollenizer plants exceeds 6 feet. It must be noted that seedless watermelons are neither genetically modified nor poisonous.
A 2014 study by the University of Delaware on watermelons also confirmed this and stated that a hollow heart is caused by a lack of pollen. It also mentioned that hollow heart disorder is more likely to occur in early-season watermelons and in watermelons grown in poor weather conditions.
The National Watermelon Promotion Board explains that growing conditions, including cold snaps and heat waves, can lead to internal cracking of the flesh. However, such watermelons are perfectly safe to eat, and they often taste sweeter as sugars are more concentrated along the cracks.
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