Sensationalizing magic potions irresponsible
A RECENT TV REPORT about muskmelons in Lanxi county, Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, found that a sweetening liquid is injected into the melons, sparking public concerns. Li Baoju, a researcher from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, comments on Beijing News:
Many worry that the “sweetening liquid” might contain harmful chemicals. As a result, people have said they will hesitate before buying the muskmelons in the future.
That’s a total misunderstanding. The “sweetening liquid” contains nothing but micro-elements, amino acid, potassic fertilizer, which do little harm to human bodies. However, the report did not explain that clearly.
The report in the case is only one of its kind. In another report, done by several media outlets, they said farmers make their cucumbers look better with a kind of hormone that’s similar to that in contraceptive pills. That misleads people into believing the cucumbers they buy in the market may harm their health, but actually the hormones are plant hormones that have little effect upon human bodies.
Such reports share one point in common: They were written by journalists and editors without any professional knowledge and without interviewing any experts. Maybe some of them avoid interviewing professionals because they hope to tell only part of the truth to their readers so as to attract more eyeballs; Maybe they simply do not think of asking professionals.
But one thing is certain: Such reports without proper professional knowledge have misled consumers and cast negative effects upon the market. According to reports, the price of cucumbers dropped from 4 yuan ($0.59) to 1.6 yuan a kilogram in some places after the “hormone” report.
In order to prevent such things from happening again, journalists and editors should consult experts to comment on such practices rather than sensationalizing their reports. And more important, the agricultural supervision departments need to better regulate the market, so as to strengthen public confidence in agricultural products. Only with joint efforts from both sides will people have solid trust in agricultural products, which benefits both consumers and farmers.