How to identify injected watermelons to avoid health risks

As temperatures rise in Pakistan, watermelons offer a refreshing reprieve from the heat. However, not all watermelons are safe to consume. In recent years, there have been reports of injected watermelons.

Some unscrupulous vendors inject harmful chemicals into watermelons to enhance their appearance and taste, posing serious health risks. Hence, it is essential for you to know how to spot the injected ones.

How to identify injected watermelons?

  1. Look for white residue: Injected watermelons often exhibit a white or yellow powdery residue on their surface, which may be carbide used for artificial ripening. Prior to slicing, thoroughly wash the watermelon to remove any traces of residue.
  2. Check the color: Injected watermelons typically appear overly vibrant red. Upon slicing, you may notice an intense red hue and sweetness, along with potential burn marks from chemical treatments. If the color seems unnaturally vivid, exercise caution.
  3. Cotton ball test: Cut the watermelon in half and press cotton balls into the pulp. If the cotton balls turn red upon contact, it indicates the presence of chemicals. This quick test can help you avoid consuming chemically-treated watermelons.
  4. Watch for leaks: Leave the watermelon untouched for 2-4 days. Any foaming or leaking of water from its surface suggests chemical injection. Natural watermelons typically do not spoil rapidly, so any signs of deterioration warrant suspicion.

Bear in mind, consuming injected watermelons can expose you to harmful substances like nitrate, artificial dyes (such as lead chromate and methanol yellow), carbide, and oxytocin, leading to food poisoning, kidney damage, cancer, and other health issues.

Stay vigilant and choose your watermelons wisely to ensure a safe and enjoyable summer season.

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