April 5, 2008

More melon controversy

News video of Honduran President Zelaya

I mentioned that last week Honduran President Mel Zelaya sliced into and ate some cantaloupe straight out of the box for the CNN cameras to demonstrate that Honduran melons don't have salmonella as reported by the US Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA Inspectors left Honduras on Friday with no word whatsoever as to the results of the tests at Agrolibano. According to La Prensa, the samples are being tested in the US and the results will be given next week.

Interestingly, we've never heard a word from the Honduran delegation who went to the U.S. last week to demand proof of the tests and a retraction from the FDA either. I assume that they are back in Honduras now, but there have been no reports of faulty FDA tests or erroneous results. I have noticed more balanced reports from various agricultural and commercial experts saying that Honduras needs to vigilantly meet international quality and safety standards, but no admission that salmonella did exist in the melons. Still protecting that pride and reputation, I suppose.

Watching the Honduran news last night, I think I saw a big goof from our U.S. Ambassador to Honduras. Ambassador Charles Ford was being mobbed by reporters asking about the test results. Man! His Spanish is so fast I couldn't even understand everything he said, BUT he laughed and I heard him say that Mel ate a honeydew melon on the news, not a cantaloupe, so Mel didn't prove anything. Since there never has been a problem with honeydew melons, he seemed to be implying that Mel was trying to trick people or maybe that Mel was afraid to eat a cantaloupe.

Now, I have seen the news video and I thought I would have remembered if he ate honeydew instead of cantaloupe. Don't you know that La Gringa would notice that sort of thing?

So, to refresh my memory, I went to YouTube, and it sure looks like a cantaloupe to me. It's not very orangey inside, but that could be due to the quality of the film.
But not all cantaloupe have orange flesh and not all honeydew have green flesh. However, the webbing on the outside indicates a cantaloupe or muskmelon, not a honeydew which are smooth skinned. I read in a Panamanian newspaper that honeydews are not as susceptible to salmonella, precisely because the smooth rind is easier to clean of impurities.

What do you think? Did Zelaya eat cantaloupe or honeydew? Does Ambassador Ford owe President Zelaya an apology? Is this going to start another international melon incident? Of course, all of this is disregarding the fact that we have no way of knowing whether this melon was cleansed before the cameras were turned on.

While searching for the news video, I ran a across a parody of that scene on YouTube. If you speak Spanish, you may get a kick out of the video below, "Mel Melon con Salmonella." Even if you don't, you may find it humorous.

Mel Melon con Salmonella
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