The rumour was started by text message, and quickly spread throughout the country. "Hainan bananas contain SARS virus!" the message read. The subsequent drop in sales has been catastrophic to the Hainan banana producers.
The lost revenue following the start of the rumours is reported by the Hainan Banana producers to be $2.6 million dollars a day."It is utterly a rumour," a Chinese Health Ministry official was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.
"There has not been a case in the world in which humans have contracted a plant virus, and there is not any scientific evidence." Hainan bananas were rumoured to cause cancer earlier in the year, when the crop was hit by a blight that discolored the fruit.
This all comes on the heels of an International growing concern over the overall safety of products coming out of China. Tainted pet food and toothpaste having been found to be harmful as well.The state-owned China Daily newspaper recently criticised China's food safety regulators and called on the government to do more to protect Chinese consumers. Wow, the damage that one text message, multiplied, can cause. Amazing when you think about it.