Just before the Labor Day weekend, social media users are reporting that watermelons purchased from Walmart stores are spontaneously exploding in their kitchens. The phenomenon, backed by photos and videos on various platforms like TikTok and Facebook, has left consumers baffled and alarmed.

The issue first gained traction earlier this summer when watermelons were found to be foaming, oozing, and eventually bursting on countertops. Those who witnessed these incidents describe a repugnant odor, often likened to the smell of vomit.

Shari Diamond, Facebook
Shari Diamond, Facebook

Shari Diamond, who posted about her experience on a Facebook group dedicated to meal ideas, warned fellow users that "No one is safe." Her post alone drew over 500 comments, many of which were from people sharing similar experiences.

Though initially tied to Trader Joe's, it appears that watermelons from Walmart are not exempt from this startling occurrence. Experts suggest that the issue might be related to this year's record-breaking high temperatures. These conditions are thought to accelerate the process of decay and fermentation in the watermelons, which leads to these surprising eruptions.

Keith Schneider, a professor in food science and human nutrition, points to climate change as a likely culprit. According to Schneider, the excessive heat can negatively impact the quality of produce, and watermelons, due to their high sugar content, are particularly vulnerable to rapid fermentation.

The process likely starts in the fields where watermelons are grown, which includes states like Texas, Arizona, California, Delaware, and Florida. From there, the watermelons are transported in heat that can fast-track the fermentation process, creating enough internal pressure to cause them to crack, ooze or, in extreme cases, explode.


To minimize the risk of falling victim to this phenomenon, consumers are advised to:

  • Store their watermelons in the fridge to slow down fermentation.
  • Carefully inspect the watermelon for any signs of damage before purchasing.
  • Dispose of the watermelon immediately if it begins to hiss, gurgle, fizz, or leak fluid, or if it emits a foul odor.

While many are puzzled by this melon madness (not to mention the cleanup), it serves as a cautionary tale about the potential implications of climate change that all of our old science teachers would warn us about back in the day, even in as unexpected a form as exploding watermelons.

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